When everything seems to get on top of you, art may hold the key to improving your mental health.

That's the key message at an exhibition in Rotorua's central city, on now until Friday, that's displaying artworks created by youngsters.

Youth artworks are on display in a public community-led art exhibition in Rotorua that's supporting Mental Health Awareness Week.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao Trust has arranged the Tūramarama Rangatahi Art Exhibition, which is taking place at a pop-up location at 1201 Eruera St (next to Capers Epicurean) until 12.30pm on Friday.


Takiri te Ata Raerino from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao Trust says the exhibition was set up to support local youth through creative means.

"We have hosted four weeks of art workshops and encouraged Rotorua rangatahi to come and create their own unique pieces of art. Creativity is a way we tell our story, share our journey and express our innermost feelings."

Te Pae Fitzell from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao Trust says the artworks were created by people aged 10 to 18, but those who visit the exhibition can also pick up a paintbrush.

"We've had people of all ages stopping in to look at the work and some people have talked about art and others have talked about their experiences with mental health to support the kaupapa."

The pop-up location features exhibitions by local businesses, such as Rotorua Canopy Tours, and there is a chill-out zone set up for attendees to relax in.

Canopy Tours business development manager Moerangi Vercoe says supporting social causes like mental health is a key part of its business' ethos.

Wellbeing is a big focus for staff, guests and the forest, Vercoe says.

"There's a strong link between nature and mental wellbeing so we wanted to bring that sense of connection from the forest into the CBD to share for Mental Health Awareness Week.


"Supporting the Tūramarama Rangatahi Art Exhibition was a great way to do this, and we're excited to see the incredible artwork these local rangatahi have created for us to enjoy."

The event will include information on resources available for the community on mental health, local social services, along with guest speakers discussing different wellbeing topics. There will be giveaways and prizes to be won throughout the week, along with presentations from locals keen to connect on mental health.

Te Manaia Jennings with her two abstract portraits and a picture she helped her 10-year-old brother paint. Photo / Kelly Makiha
Te Manaia Jennings with her two abstract portraits and a picture she helped her 10-year-old brother paint. Photo / Kelly Makiha

Emerging artists Te Manaia Jennings also has her artwork on display and for sale at the exhibition.

She says it's great to be part of the exhibition and she hopes locals will come down and support it.

The exhibition is open to the public from 9.30am to 4.30pm and will close at 12.30pm on Friday.

Where to get help:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
Or if you need to talk to someone else:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)