We’ve Been Thinking…

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25 August 2022

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News, views and inspiration from here and around the world to help you live happily and healthily, while being kinder to the planet.

Walk For Wellbeing

Recent research has confirmed what we can feel – getting outside into nature is good for us. And in more good news, we don’t have to get out into the remote wilderness to feel benefits. Researchers from New Zealand and Germany compared the effects of walking in two different natural settings: an urban forest and a landscape park. They found that both spaces increased people’s feelings of wellbeing equally. We feel more connected to nature in the wild, though; the researchers also found that when people perceived their surroundings as more wild, their feeling of being connected to nature increased.

Take A Spring Gardening Tour

If the chilly days of winter have got you down, give yourself something to look forward to this spring and plan a visit to one of Aotearoa’s stand-out garden festivals. They offer the chance to see gardens that are not usually open to the public, and are a fabulous weekend away to share with garden-loving friends.
Rapaura Springs Garden Marlborough offers five different garden tours through some of New Zealand’s most sensational gardens, plus a garden party and inspiring speakers, including Australian garden design superstar Paul Bangay and chef Josh Emett. November 3-6, Or visit some of the 43 gardens that are open for the Centuria Taranaki Garden Festival – the region is famous for its rhododendrons, including at Pukeiti (pictured) but there’s a huge variety of gardens on show, and a range of events covering topics like composting, food forests and sustainable gardening. October 28-November 6,

Other garden festivals worth checking out are the Wairarapa Garden Tour, November 5-6,; and Canterbury’s Hurunui Garden Festival, October 27-30,

Spotlight On The Kiwi Diet

Kiwi scientists at the University of Otago are developing an Aotearoa New Zealand wellbeing diet, He Rourou Whai Painga, aimed at tackling diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Their goal is to develop a “New Zealand” dietary pattern, focusing on locally produced foods that can improve the health of our communities.

“We know we have great quality produce in New Zealand, and this is an exciting opportunity to show that, when combined in a whole diet, with a focus on plant-based foods such as vegetables, legumes, fruits, wholegrains and cereals, nuts and seeds, olive oil and a moderate intake of seafood, our foods improve the health and wellbeing of people at risk of diabetes and heart disease,” says endocrinologist Professor Jeremy Krebs at the University of Otago in Wellington.

The study will recruit 200 participants in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Lower Hutt, who must have high cholesterol, high blood pressure and/or be overweight. If you’re interested in taking part in the project, visit

Normal or without Meat

As we all move toward seating less meat for the good of the planet , the trend has gone mainstream, with one fast food chain recently trialling a new way of nudging people in the direction of meat-free options. Burger King in Austria ran an experiment in July where its entire range of burgers were served as plant-based, unless the customer specifically requested a meat-based version. Those who ordered without expressing a special request for “meat” received a vege burger. The chain has since opened a permanently all-vegan outlet in Vienna, mirroring Burger King outlets in other European countries. One in three Whoppers sold in Belgium is meat-free, and Burger King in the UK has pledged that half its menu will be plant-based by 2030.

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