The reason Sport Northland exists is to enrich Northlanders' lives through play, active recreation and sport.
One of our focus areas, Green Prescription, supports people to get more active and what follows is an account of one woman's journey to discovering an activity that she loves and now regularly enjoys.
She would prefer to remain anonymous, however is happy for us to share her story, hoping it will touch others.
Her story starts with a dramatic, life-changing event, which initially was a very negative experience for her (her husband of 30 plus years had left her).
However, she was able to find the strength to turn it around and look at it as a new beginning.
It was not an easy time. She went through a very long grieving period where she suffered from depression and anxiety.
It was then that her GP wrote her a Green Script and sent her to Sport Northland, where the Green Prescription Support crew help participants to find an activity they enjoy that is sustainable and cost-effective.
The first contact was discussing activity options and it allowed the opportunity for her to share her story.
Although she was not ready at that point for change, she continued to receive regular supportive phone calls from her support person.
During one such call, she was upset and feeling suicidal.
Recognising there was a need for emotional support, they spoke for an hour by which time she was feeling much better and agreed to come in for a clinic visit the very next day.
At this meeting there was open dialogue about being the creator of our own destiny and what that might look like for her.
This is when she talked about her interest in off-road cycling.
She shared what it could look like and the challenges she saw.
One such challenge was trying to find others to do this with her.
When she left, she was feeling a lot more positive.
The support calls continued however there was a period where she was uncontactable.
Two months later she called and shared that she had been cycling through some of the most beautiful bush tracks around Rotorua and Taupo.
She would have a friend drop her off at the start of the cycle track, spend the day riding, then have that friend pick her up once she had reached the end.
During her journey she met lots of new people, they shared stories, had lunch, a few laughs and then went off on their separate ways.
When asked how she found the courage she explains" "I have an acquaintance that had cycled the length of New Zealand and that inspired me."
She also mentioned that the support from the Green Prescription Support team had been very helpful.
This is an incredible accomplishment.
When she looks back, she admitted she could barely find the strength and courage to leave her home, let alone go on an adventure on her own.
This experience has empowered her and made her more confident.
It has helped her with her anxiety and depression, and she has stopped feeling like she is a victim.
This is a fantastic story and we know there are many more Northlanders out there in need of this type of help.
So if you need a bit of encouragement to explore the activities that you are curious about, ask your health provider for a Green Prescription referral.
The team at Sport Northland are very happy to support you by talking through ideas to help get clarity on what being active might look like for you.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Helpline: 1737
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.