Peonies supporting mental health

Peonies with a Purpose is the special fundraising campaign to assist the mental wellbeing of half a million Kiwis who will need help this year. Photo: Supplied.

Flower lovers, this is your season. It’s peony blooming time again and for the second year running these revered blooms – long known to symbolise compassion – are the floral heroes of a special fundraising campaign, ‘Peonies with a Purpose’.

Each bouquet or bunch of peonies purchased until November 14 at participating florists will result in $1 donated to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), to assist the charity in nurturing the mental health and wellbeing of the 580,000 Kiwis who will need its help this year.

“After 18 months of living with the challenges of COVID-19, many Kiwis have battle fatigue as the pandemic rolls on, and according to a recent Ipsos study commissioned by MHF, 25 per cent of all New Zealanders currently have poor levels of mental and emotional wellbeing,” says Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand CEO Shaun Robinson.

While there’s hardship in the community, sometimes it’s hard to know how to help. That’s where Peonies with a Purpose comes in.

As a charitable collaboration between Feel Good With Flowers and the NZ Paeony Society this campaign has at its heart, spreading joy and kindness, and as its purpose, supporting mental health. 

COVID-19 has been one of the biggest challenges to our collective mental health in several generations, according to Shaun.

“The ongoing pandemic is tough on us all and demand for our resources remains high as COVID continues to increase anxiety levels and challenge mental wellbeing for many. We know the importance of keeping communities uplifted and the wellbeing of us all needs to be a major part of the Delta outbreak response across Aotearoa,” says Shaun.


Demand for MHF resources tailored for COVID-19 last year continues in 2021; resources such as ‘Getting Through Together, We’re Awesome Tāmaki Makaurau’ and ‘Make Me Time’ continue to resonate with many New Zealanders.  


“Connecting with others, our whanau and friends are incredibly important tools to improve wellbeing,” says Shaun. “COVID has challenged this but we’re constantly amazed by people’s willingness to reach out to each other.


“Embracing technology to connect is one thing but getting to know your neighbours and support those people in your community who are in need is vital too. If you’re already supporting others, we celebrate the good work you’re doing.


Taking part in Feel Good With Flowers’ fundraising campaign from October 18 - November 14 for Mental Health Foundation gives donors an opportunity to not only support mental health and wellbeing, but also Aotearoa’s struggling flower growers, whose products are classified ‘non-essential’ by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.


Generosity is vital for MHF to keep pace with the growth in demand for its services, with fundraising allowing the charity to provide information, guidance and develop innovative programmes across the board.   


“Lockdowns have reduced our ability to raise funds through events, and we’re extremely grateful for those in the community who continue to find ways to give,” says Shaun.

Thai-Anh Cooper from Feel Good With Flowers says considering the impact of the past 18 months on people’s mental health, spring time is perfect for spreading that ‘feel good factor’ through Peonies with a Purpose.     

“We chose peonies for this campaign because not only are NZ-grown peonies among the best in the world, the peony season in NZ is short-lived and much celebrated by retailers and consumers alike. Year after year, these gorgeous blooms generate phenomenal interest and pleasure for so many,” says Thai-Anh.

“This campaign allows us to collaborate with NZ Paeony Society in a positive and effective way and give back to those who really need support. It’s also an honour to support MHF, a great charity that is making a big impact on so many lives and it’s our desire to help them achieve even more.”  

Thai-Anh says those in the flower growing industry are fortunate to be surrounded by such beautiful products every day that bring joy and happiness.

“We want to share this joy with our communities and help lift Kiwis’ spirits. NZ-grown flowers are second to none and we’d love them to be enjoyed by everyone.” 


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