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, bicultural 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. 


Natasha Rix
Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Natasha Rix is the co-creator of Pause Breathe Smile and is experienced in strategic planning, mindfulness training and entrepreneurship. She has successfully created and managed two mindfulness training businesses, with proven expertise in developing and delivering mindfulness personal and professional development, reaching thousands of individuals, health professionals and educators since 2012.

Natasha co-founded the Pause Breathe Smile Charitable Trust in 2020 signing a Sponsorship Funding Agreement with Southern Cross and the Mental Health Foundation to provide evidence-based mind health skills free for New Zealand children. She established the Trust as an operational entity and managed the roll out of Pause Breathe Smile to over 46,000 children in the first year of operations.


Grant Rix
Co-founder & Director of Training & Development

Grant Rix is the co-creator of Pause Breathe Smile and a leader in mindfulness training, implementation and research.

For the past 20 years Grant has developed evidence-based mindfulness programmes and trained school teachers, counsellors, psychologists, high-performing athletes and other New Zealanders in mindfulness. He was the operations manager for Mindful Aotearoa, part of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, for seven years, and regularly presents on mindfulness and wellbeing at conferences, in workplaces and in the media.


Carolyn Mortland

Carolyn Mortland has twenty years of experience as an executive in the food and beverage industry, holding a variety of roles in Fonterra including corporate counsel and Director of Global Sustainability. During this time Carolyn held responsibility for the Fonterra Milk for Schools and KickStart Breakfast programmes, supporting wellbeing for kids in school. Carolyn is a director of Service Foods Ltd and a board member on the Tāwhaki Joint Venture. She is also a member of the Zespri Sustainability Advisory Board and a Beachhead Advisor with NZTE. Carolyn has an LLB and BA (Victoria University) and is a Member of the Institute of Directors. She lives in Auckland with her husband and three children, and enjoys the busy household, walks along the beach and mindful moments.


Dr Ross Bernay, PhD

Dr. Ross Bernay is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at AUT University. Ross has been practicing mindfulness since 2006 and has integrated mindfulness practice into his own work practices. He introduces mindfulness to student teachers at AUT for personal stress reduction, to use in their own lesson delivery and as a strategy for promoting their students’ well-being. Ross has been a teacher, deputy principal and principal for 23 years before starting at AUT 18 years ago. His doctoral thesis traced the lived experiences of a group of beginning teachers using mindfulness during their first year of teaching; the results highlighted the benefits of mindfulness for preventing burnout and for coping with the demands of the classroom.


Anna Roberts

Having a strong entrepreneurial spirit with marketing and strategy base, Anna has a passion of making a difference to others. She runs a mobile advertising business of 23 years and also project manages a number of community building developments including the ‘Midway Surf Rescue Community Hub’ located in Tairawhiti, Gisborne. Anna is passionate about giving back to the community and resides on a number of boards. Anna has served on the Rere School Board of Trustees for six years as Treasurer, is on the Midway Surf Rescue Community Trust, Raukokore Church Restoration and Preservation Trust and the Pause Breath Smile Trust. A mother of three, Anna resides with her husband on their hill country station, where they have a full and varied life. When it comes to downtime, Anna surfs, practices yoga, plays golf, and catches up with her friends and family.


Dr Janel Atlas, PhD

Born and raised in the United States, Janel Atlas moved to New Zealand in 2015 and has since earned her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition, focusing on the importance of listening with compassion to women’s stories of pregnancy losses. She also is the author of They Were Still Born: Personal Stories about Stillbirth, a teacher and relationship coach, and a qualitative researcher with experience in tertiary education and in the health sector. Janel’s personal mindfulness practice supports how she relates to others, including with her three children. In addition to her work with Pause Breathe Smile training teachers and helping with new content development and te reo Māori delivery, Janel is also a self-professed relationship nerd who enjoys walking, swimming, pottery, and trying out new recipes at her home kitchen in Christchurch.


Rawiri Hindle

Rawiri leads the development and facilitation of Whaiwāhi Mauri Tau for TKKM and bilingual kura. Rawiri has been a teacher in both English in Māori medium settings. As the National Coordinator Ngā Toi, Rawiri designed and implemented a MoE professional development contract based on the implementation of the Māori arts curriculum in Māori immersion schooling throughout New Zealand. He has worked for many years as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Māori Departments of the Faculty of Education of VUW and UOA, teaching and coaching many of the students in arts-based and culturally responsive pedagogies. He is a regular presenter and key-note speaker at TRCC workshops and at National and International Education based Conferences and Committee.


Betsy Spigel

Betsy’s passion is to enhance the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. She sees immense value in introducing mindfulness to children at an age that can truly shape their lives for the better. Betsy has also taught mindfulness to adults, and is accredited to deliver the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. In her earlier career as an Organisation Development Consultant, Betsy facilitated professional training and development programmes across a variety of sectors including education, healthcare, NGOs, and private organisations. She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Princeton University in the United States, and an MBA at Canterbury University. Betsy lives with her two children in Governors Bay, just outside Christchurch, where she enjoys hiking, biking, swimming and paddleboarding in the stunning hills and harbour.


Rosy Harper-Duff

Rosy came into mindfulness through her own experience with depression and anxiety. The impact that mindfulness had on her mental health was incredible and completely changed the way she looked at life. She trained extensively  in 2017 and has been running mindfulness workshops and meditation classes with corporates, children, and the public ever since. Rosy’s goal and mission is to share the power of mindfulness and arm all Kiwi’s, especially children, with the tools and knowledge to create better mental wellbeing.


George Johnston

Originally training to deliver Pause Breathe Smile to schools in 2017, George has shared Pause Breathe Smile with schools throughout Wellington as a facilitator and now travels extensively to deliver the programme to educators across Aotearoa. George has a background in music, leading to work with the Early Intervention Service sharing space to make music with clients. In addition to this he spent time with CoLiberate facilitating Mental Health First Aid workshops with government and private enterprises.

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.