All Blacks legend and long-time mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan is embarking on a two-week road trip in the name of kids' mental health.
The first stop on his 2100km journey from Auckland to Invercargill will be Hamilton's Endeavour School in Flagstaff where he will hold a community event starting at 2.30pm on Monday, July 4, raising funds and awareness for his initiative Mitey.
Mitey is an approach to teaching mental health in primary and intermediate schools (from Years 1 to 8) and helps children to build age-appropriate skills, knowledge and understanding to look after their own emotional wellbeing and those of others.
The programme was developed over two years and was trialled at selected New Zealand schools.
Kirwan says the goal of his Mitey Drive is to raise $1 million to help roll out the programme to 40 more schools.
"We have some of the worst mental health statistics in the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] and this will take a generation to change our trajectory.
"Mitey helps teach the 'ABC of mental health' to children when they're young and with New Zealand's support, we will be able to roll this vital programme out to 11,000 more children.
"Together, we can change the course of mental health in this country."
In total, John will hold eight community events with the first one on Sunday at Auckland's Ponsonby Primary School where Mitey has already been rolled out.
Ponsonby Primary School principal Sanjay Rama says Mitey made an impact on the daily lives of the pupils.
"Through Mitey they're learning skills that will assist them throughout their childhood and well into adulthood."
Travelling from Auckland to Hamilton, John will be joined by a 50-strong fleet of Land Rover enthusiasts to mark the start of the mental health drive.
Land Rover New Zealand CEO Steve Kenchington says the company donated the vehicle John will do the road trip in, a Land Rover Defender 90.
"We want to create an environment that future generations not only survive in, but thrive in, and are proud to support our brand ambassador ... Sir John Kirwan with this landmark initiative."
People have the chance to win John Kirwan's Land Rover by buying a $20 raffle ticket to get in the draw. See details here.
The other stops on the trip are:
• Tauranga on July 5 at 2.30pm at Bellevue School
• Napier on July 6 at 2.30pm at Taradale Intermediate School
• Wellington on July 7 at 2.30pm at Island Bay School
• Christchurch on July 8 at 2.30pm at Whitau School
• Dunedin on July 11 at 4pm at the Dunedin City Library
• Invercargill on July 12 at 4pm at the Community Trust South Centre