Prescribing Nature

Teva speaks with Kim and Ben, an active Kiwi couple who value spending time together exploring the outdoors to boost mental health and general wellbeing. They share their favourite places in New Zealand to hike, surf and take it all in. 


Tell us about yourselves and the activities you both enjoy together.

Kim: I’m currently working in marketing / communications and do film photography on the side. I love shooting film because of its unique process, the colours, and the subtle details film captures. I also find it a very mindful activity; it helps bring me back to the present moment. Ben is in his final year of Chiropractic college, so we don't have much spare time right now, but when we do, we enjoy spending time in nature, going on hikes, swimming in the ocean, and surfing.

Of course, our absolute favourite thing to do together is road-tripping around New Zealand in our van. There’s simply nothing better.


Both of you feel strongly that exploring the outdoors has a positive effect on your mental health - can you tell us more?

We find exploring the outdoors incredibly grounding. It really helps shift your perspective when you’re not feeling so great and recharges you. It’s our daily meditation practice.

Do you have examples/or can you describe a moment when being outdoors helped to cope with a challenging time?

Being outdoors really helped during Covid, even if it was just a walk around the block (during level four) or having dinner in our backyard. It was the small things that made a big difference during that period.


Do you have any childhood memories of being in the outdoors, and can you describe a moment and feeling around it?

Kim:  I was introduced to the outdoors at a young age through fishing. We had a small orange boat called the Kia, and we would take it out at sunrise. We’d be out on the water all day, fishing and swimming. My favourite part of the day was always the morning, being out in the ocean and waking up with the sunrise.  

Ben: Living in New Zealand means you’re never far away from the outdoors. We are lucky to be surrounded by nature. I have many fond memories of exploring our natural playground - climbing trees, making forts, feeding eels in the stream and learning to navigate the ocean. That experience has fostered genuine respect and wonder for the environment, which I carry close with me today.


What is your favourite place in Aotearoa to spend summer, and why?

That’s a hard one, but we’d say the Coromandel. The beaches are incredible, and The Pinnacles is one of our favourite hikes.

What other places do you enjoy hiking?

There are so many great hikes all around New Zealand, but you’ll find us in the Waitakere Ranges mostly - we love it out there.


You both love to surf; where is your favourite surf break?

Kim: Forestry Beach is my favourite place to surf. It’s the perfect spot for longboarding. And Ben's favourite place is Piha.

What are some of the activities or places to explore on your bucket list?

We’re planning some fun hikes up in Northland this summer and hoping to explore the Great Barrier too. 


What are your tips for exploring New Zealand, and do you have any must-have packing essentials?

Don’t plan too much (we never do).

Turn off your phone, and enjoy just being.

Our must-have packing essentials are a coffee plunger, sunscreen, a camera, a good book and comfortable footwear!