Sweet? Nah. Find your lighthouse tour

Four men from Pāpāmoa plan to cover 6000 km in 12 days to raise funds and awareness for men's mental health through their Lighthouse Project. Photo: Supplied.

A group of Kiwi blokes have joined forces leaving Mount Maunganui on the weekend to tour 24 lighthouses throughout New Zealand. Their goal is to raise money and awareness for men’s mental health organisations and charities.

The four men, all from Pāpāmoa plan to cover the 6000km journey in 12 days, and hope their Lighthouse Project will raise $100,000 through their Givealittle page

Leaving from Mount Maunganui on Sunday April 17, the tour will stop in to meet with mental health organisations and charities around the country, with the aim to help create awareness of their work.

Luke McFarlane, Matt Tope, Jamie Wilson and Rodney Phillips. Photo: Supplied.

The four men say that this kaupapa addresses the horrific statistics relating to suicide in NZ  - 623 confirmed suicides in 2018  - with a heavy skew towards males.

When the four Pāpāmoa men started chatting about their journey with mental health, they had a realisation that Kiwi blokes tend to fob off any questions about their wellbeing with the classic phrase ‘Yeah, I'm Sweet’.

The men left from Mauao on Sunday. Photo: Supplied.

The men, Luke McFarlane, Matt Tope, Jamie Wilson and Rodney Phillips, who have all had brushes with the infamous “Black Dog’, decided to do something about it, and being an on-to-it bunch, realised the best way they could contribute to this important issue, was to shine a light and support some of the amazing organisations and charities currently working in this space.

In the famous words of George Bernard Shaw “I can think of no other edifice constructed by man, as altruistic as a lighthouse. They are built only to serve.’

From here the ‘Sweet? Nah…find your lighthouse’ tour was conceived, and the lads set off from one of NZ’s most iconic marine landmarks, Mauao, on Sunday April 17 at 5am. From there they will navigate their way around NZ via 24 of NZ’s lighthouses over 12 days and over 6000 km.

At Castlepoint lighthouse. Photo: Supplied.

"All too often when we are asked if we’re sweet, we say 'yeah', but the answer is often 'nah’," says Luke, spokesperson for The Lighthouse Project Charitable Trust.

"We started this charity to highlight community organisations around Aotearoa that are working hard to ensure that those who struggle the most get the support they need. We want blokes to see that there are options out there and that the first step is to acknowledge our struggles, and then start talking about them."

At Cape Palliser. Photo: Supplied.

With a fundraising target of $100,000, the team will be sharing their journey via their social media channels, encouraging the public to connect with them on their stops and will be pointing supporters to their Givealittle page to make donations which will be shared by the organisations already doing great mahi in their communities.

"A healthy workforce is the lifeblood of our business and just as we ensure our staff are physically safe in their workplace, we are equally focused on mental well-being," says major sponsor of the tour Classic Builders NZ Ltd National Operations Manager Rowan McKeany.

"Classic Group’s five ways to wellbeing programme provides some simple checkpoints for our team to use in everyday life and connection is one of the core pillars. There is nothing like a roadie to bring people together and the way the boys are connecting with other organisations embodies this value perfectly.

"TracMap has always been a strong advocate for mental and physical health and well-being.   Our aim is that every team member is supported by their leaders and team mates, with access to resources including Employee Assistance Counselling and our well-being support programme," says Rowan. 

"Thanks to the efforts of The Lighthouse Project, we’re really highlighting that it's ok to ask for help.  We know that feeling a sense of purpose and “an attitude of gratitude” positively impacts mental health; and this tour encompasses this and more, which TracMap is a huge supporter of."

Several other organisations have come on board to support the initiative including TrailLite, which have provided use of a campervan to complete the tour, and Gull who have awarded a 'Good Grant' to help with fuel costs.

To contact The Lighthouse Project Charitable Trust and Luke McFarlane phone 021 0263 0807 or email sweetnah.nz@gmail.com

Give a little: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/the-lighthouse-project

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-lighthouse-project-104248205242011/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_lighthouse_project_nz/

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