We believe that every child deserves to thrive and not just survive.​
Grant & Natasha Rix, Pause Breathe Smile Trust

Grant & Natasha Rix
Pause Breathe Smile Trust

Homegrown and evidence-based

Pause Breathe Smile is growing tamariki wellbeing  throughout primary and intermediate schools across Aotearoa.  Originally developed in 2013 by Grant Rix with input from a range of experts in education, mental health, mātauranga Māori, psychology and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.  Pause Breathe Smile became fully funded by major sponsor Southern Cross, in 2020 and is still being led by the same people who have been leading since the beginning.

Our purpose

The Pause Breathe Smile Trust exists to help create a healthier New Zealand by equipping Kiwi kids with mind health skills. We believe that every child deserves to thrive and not just survive.

Unfortunately, New Zealand ranks poorly regarding overall child wellbeing outcomes.* Turning these poor outcomes around and making Aotearoa the best place in the world to grow up will take large scale concerted efforts on behalf of Government, public services, private businesses, NGOs (like us), communities, whānau and schools. Everyone has a role to play because the choices we make as adults are connected to the health and wellbeing of our nation’s tamariki

For our part, Pause Breathe Smile can help ensure that our tamariki are equipped with awesome mental skills to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing, uncertain world. Skills like learning how to regulate emotions, build self-awareness and relate positively to others. We know that learning these skills early in life can help kids thrive now and in the future. 

*New Zealand currently ranks 35 out of 41 OECD countries in overall child wellbeing outcomes, according to UNICEF.

Research & Findings

  • Increases calmness
  • Improves focus & attention
  • Enhances self-awareness
  • Improves conflict resolution skills
  • Develops positive relationships
  • Reduces teacher stress
  • Statistically significant increases in childhood wellbeing
  • Marked improvement in focus, perseverance, helpfulness and self-motivation
  • Marked decline in apprehension, anxiety and pessimism
Our Research

A uniquely New Zealand approach

Pause Breathe Smile has always been deeply rooted in Aotearoa’s identity. 

The programme is contextualised by Te Whare Tapa Whā – Sir Mason Durie’s model of hauora from a Māori perspective and we continue to take big steps toward ensuring that it is fully accessible for kaiako and ākonga who teach and learn in mainstream or Māori immersion settings.

This approach has taken years of investment from our own team and external experts which was Initiated with the Māori Development team at the Mental Health Foundation back in 2015. Since then, we have worked with Rawiri Hindle to pilot and review within Te Kura Māori O Porirua.

Whilst in pilot phase, we’ve developed a whole new suite of te reo resources, including an updated handbook for educators, audio practices, and video resources for mindful movements in te reo.  The training workshop for Māori language settings is delivered in English and Te Reo Māori and follows the procedures of tikanga Māori, for example, starting with whakatau, karakia, and mihimihi.

Southern Cross , New Zealand’s leading independent health and wellness provider, has joined forces with the Pause Breathe Smile Trust and The Mental Health Foundation. Together we share a vision of equipping every child in New Zealand with the tools to achieve positive mind health. Through this partnership, the Pause Breathe Smile programme is available to any primary or intermediate school since 2020, at no cost to schools.