Cultural Identity

Use your culture, don’t lose your culture. Culture gives us a sense of belonging, pride and identity.

Why celebrate culture?

There’s a source of power in your DNA.

Not knowing where you belong and not feeling like you’re part of the crowd is a common feeling for many young people. For young Māori and Pasifika people in New Zealand, research shows that the stronger our cultural identity, the stronger our wellbeing. If we embrace and strengthen our cultural identity, we strengthen wellbeing and have a happy life.

Learning more about your background gives you a better understanding of why you think, feel or act in certain ways. If the way you do these things is making you feel like you don’t fit in, try looking at it in a different way – the things that make you different also make you unique.

Knowing about your family history, ancestors and culture can help you know where you come from, and that’s a part of who you are. It can help you carry a sense of ‘home’ wherever you go, no matter where you are or who you are with.

Knowledge about your culture is always waiting for you if you want to pursue it. The main thing is that you’re happy with how much of your culture/s you know right now, or you choose to engage with.

Have fun exploring your culture/s, but don’t feel like you have to be able to do certain things, like be a fluent speaker or know all the protocols in cultural occasions. Everyone engages with their own culture at different levels, and at different times in their lifetime, so it’s not an “all-or-nothing” thing.


Tips for nurturing your cultural identity

If you can speak the language, or want to learn, that’s great – having a second language is a special skill that not many Kiwis have. And it can help you connect with other people from your culture and community.
However, there are all sorts of ways of connecting and expressing your culture such as spending time with your whānau, taking part in family and community events, as well as the arts, music, food, clothing and heaps more.

Research your family name
Why not explore where it came from and what meaning there is behind it. Try asking whānau or looking at records, such as books, birth certificates, genealogy records and online sites. Ask them about previous generations – there could be some cool stories in your family history.

Check out classes, videos, or apps to learn even more
Like your language or contemporary culture… like The Coconet, an interactive virtual Pasifika village.

Try making the food from your culture
Ask your relatives if they have any good recipes or go online and create your own MasterChef culinary masterpiece!

Join a local club or event or school group that celebrates your culture

  • Polyfest
  • Pasifika Festival
  • Matatini
  • Waka Ama
  • Chinese New Year – Chinese Lantern Festivals
  • Diwali – Hindu Festival of Lights
  • ANZAC Day
  • Hanukkah – Jewish Festival of Lights

Find the music, art and literature from your culture and be inspired to explore your own creative side

Try comparing the traditional and modern art and music from your culture – what are the themes that keep coming up? Find a play, a poem, song, rap or a short story that has been written by someone from your culture/s. Does it relate to you?  If enough stories aren’t told about your cultural experiences, you could be the one to write or create art about it!

Counselling Online Chat

Check In

Learning about mental health issues means you can check yourself and check in on your mates too. Click and drag side to side to scroll through the topics to learn more.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is a state of mind.  Everyone has mental health, just as we all have physical health. Having positive mental health means we have strong relationships, and cope with everyday stress in life to reach our full potential.

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Myth-Busters for Mental Health Problems

Some people misunderstand what mental health problems really are. When this happens we can judge people the wrong way, exclude them and end up being disrespectful. We can change this by busting those myths together!

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How to check in

Have you got a mate who’s just not themselves lately? Maybe a family member who seems angry or withdrawn? Do you want to say something but are not sure how?

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It’s normal to feel sad, stressed, angry or miserable, especially if we’ve gone through stressful times.

Depression is more than this.

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We all know what it’s like to feel worried. Unfortunately for some people, worrying, feeling on edge and panic can be much more intense and overwhelming.

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A lot of people don’t think alcohol is a drug. It’s actually the most widely used and easily accessible drug in New Zealand. It can have a major impact on your mental health. There’s lots of help available to learn how to ease up on the drink.

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Being Bullied?

No-one deserves to be bullied. Bullying is a serious problem that can disrupt your life and lead to physical and emotional health problems. You don’t have to go through this alone. Help is available.

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Online Bullying

Online bullying, or cyber bullying, is when a person uses digital technology to send, post or publish content to hurt someone. There’s lots of tips on how to deal with this.

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What is healthy gaming?

Gaming is a normal and healthy part of our lives and it can have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. For a small number of young people, gaming can have a more negative impact on everyday life.

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Grief is our natural response to loss – for example, we experience grief when someone close to us dies. We all experience grief differently. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months, for others, it’s years.

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Feel Good

There's only one of you and we want you to live well and feel good so you can be your best self. Check out tips and tools on how to feel good.





Looking for ideas of how to reduce our stress and anxiety? Practising mindfulness activities can help us chill out and clear our minds, so we can deal with things better.

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Sleep Well

A good sleep at night helps you manage better during the day. Learn to overcome those annoying things that keep you awake and how to get a good pattern of sleep.

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Relax. Breathe.

Your mental wealth relies on you taking the time to look after both your body and mind. Sometimes life gets so busy, and you forget to take time out to relax, rest and recharge. Breathing is another way to take your relaxation in life to the next level.

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Grow Gratitude

Did you know that feeling grateful for what we have can improve our mental wealth? Appreciating people and things makes us happy! But it takes a lot of practice so give it a try.

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Digital Detox

Recharge and refresh yourself! Perhaps it’s time to step away, have a break from those digital devices that take up all of our time and focus. Sometimes we can lose track of reality and our relationships with the real world. A digital detox might just help us recharge, regain sight of what’s important and take better care of ourselves.

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Eat Well

If we want to feel good, we need to make the right choices about what we eat and drink. What we eat and drink not only affects our appearance, but also our energy levels, and the way we think about feel about ourselves.

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Get Moving

A strong body supports a strong mind and can help us cope with things like stress, anger and anxiety. There’s lots of fun ways to get moving, on your own or with mates. Every little bit counts!

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Spirituality generates positive emotions in people. Whether it’s about having a greater purpose in life, a religion, or living out your personal values, spirituality can make us feel good.

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Cultural Identity

Culture gives us a sense of belonging, pride and identity. It’s something to celebrate and cherish. Find out how we can discover and nurture our cultural identities.

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Stay Connected

It's a fact that people who are connected are more likely to be happy. Find out how to stay connected so you look after your mental wealth.

Get help now

If you or someone you know is in immediate physical danger, call 111 now. If you’re experiencing mental health problems or need support, help is a phone call away.

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How to connect

Staying connected to friends, whānau, school, work, nature and the world around you is critical to your wellbeing.

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Understanding gaming: Tips for friends and whānau

Are you worried about a family member’s gaming habits and internet use? Learn how to engage in conversation with them.

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Screen Time Tips

We really value screen time because it can be fun and relaxing. But too much screen time can get in the way of other activities that are good for us, like socialising, sleep and exercise.

Finding a balance between time online and other activities is important for your physical and mental health.

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Intergenerational communication

Connecting with parents, grandparents, aunties or uncles can help us feel a sense of belonging.

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Aunty Dee

For when life sux, Aunty Dee can help you solve your problems.

Sparx e-therapy

e-therapy for young people who are feeling down, worried or stressed.

For Pasifika

Atu-Mai: culturally-based tools to support Pacific young people to unleash their full potential.


Online safety for New Zealand.


Here to help and here for you. Text Youthline on 234.

The Lowdown

Straighup answers for when life sux.

Common Ground

Advice and information on how to be part of a support network for a distressed young person.