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Sir John Kirwan 'hits the road on landmark drive' across the country

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Sir John Kirwan has hit the road as part of a two-week, 2,100km challenge to raise funds and awareness for his charitable initiative Mitey.

Members of the Land Rover fan club joined him in a 58-strong convoy for a symbolic show of support as he travelled from Auckland to Hamilton, marking the start of his landmark mental health drive. Sir John will hold eight community events from Auckland to Invercargill to change the course of mental health in Aotearoa.

Auckland, New Zealand: All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan has hit the road to mark the beginning of his landmark Mitey Drive across Aotearoa to raise funds and awareness for mental health.

Mitey is a fresh approach to teaching mental health as part of the New Zealand curriculum, enabling children to learn about it at school, every day, just like literacy and maths.

Mitey was developed over two years by the Sir John Kirwan Foundation with input from highly experienced specialists from the University of Auckland as well as New Zealand educators, teachers and clinicians.

Provided free to New Zealand primary and intermediate schools, Mitey has already positively impacted more than 12,000 New Zealand children.

Sir John was joined by an estimated 50-strong fleet of Land Rover enthusiasts for the first leg of his drive from Auckland to Hamilton, with the convoy a symbolic pledge of support for his 2,100km Mitey Drive across the length of Aotearoa.

Sir John’s ambition over the two-week national fundraising campaign is to raise enough money to roll out Mitey to 40 more schools, benefiting over 11,000 kids.

Sir John Kirwan commented: "We have a hugely ambitious goal to raise $1 million for the future wellbeing of our tamariki. We kickstarted this drive in Auckland, and if the sheer enthusiasm and support of the Land Rover convoy is anything to go by, I’m confident we’ll reach our goal. It was inspiring to see so many people turn out on a Sunday morning for this historical moment."

"We have some of the worst mental health statistics in the OECD 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."

Mitey is a fresh approach to teaching mental health as part of the New Zealand curriculum, enabling children to learn about it at school, every day, just like literacy and maths. Developed over two years and provided free to New Zealand primary and intermediate schools, Mitey has already positively impacted more than 12,000 children.

Sir John Kirwan held his first public event in Auckland at Ponsonby Primary School before his departure, where he spoke to 50 or so school kids, parents and educators.

Sanjay Rama, Principal of Ponsonby Primary School, commented: "Mitey is already making a real impact on the daily lives of our students, how they communicate and the way they treat one another. Through Mitey they’re learning skills that will assist them throughout their childhood and well into adulthood. We’re proud to have been the first event on a busy schedule stretching across the length of Aotearoa."

Sir John will hold another seven events that are open to members of the public, school community and mental health advocates to attend. These are free to join and are scheduled at:

Hamilton: July 4, 2.30pm at Endeavour School

Tauranga: July 5, 2.15pm at Bellevue School

Napier: July 6, 2.20pm at Taradale Intermediate School

Wellington: July 7, 2.30pm at Island Bay School

Christchurch: July 8, 2.15pm at Whitau School

Dunedin: July 11, 4.00pm at the Dunedin City Library

Invercargill: July 12, 4.00pm at the Community Trust South Centre

Members of the public are encouraged to show their support by purchasing a $20 raffle ticket to win a Land Rover Defender 90, or to attend one of the community events, with more details available by visiting www.themiteydrive.org.

Land Rover New Zealand CEO, Steve Kenchington, added: "We want to create an environment that future generations not only survive in, but thrive in, and are proud to support our brand ambassador and good friend Sir John Kirwan with this landmark initiative."

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