Journalism Fellows

Over more than a decade, we've proudly awarded journalists with grants to tell stories that aim to end mental distress prejudice and discrimination.
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Since 2007, we have awarded more than 28 tāngata/people with media grants to tell stories that help to end prejudice and discrimination against people living with mental health challenges.

These pūtea/grants are possible thanks to funding from the Frozen Funds Charitable Trust and the Te Hiringa Hauora/the Health Promotion Agency.

Below are a list of our pūrongo/journalism grants fellows and their projects.


Oliver Lewis

Project: Oliver published five, long-form articles in Newsroom on the state of some of Aotearoa’s mental health facilities in June 2021. The articles represented views from both people who had used mental health services and those working within them, and sparked further media coverage and calls for an inquiry into mental health units across the country.

Sela Hopgood

Project: A Mother’s Cry is a three-part multimedia series investigating the high rates of Pasifika perinatal distress in New Zealand, and why so few people seek help. The series was published on Radio New Zealand.


Murphy and Susan Strongman

Project: Here We Are is a nine-article multimedia project about what it’s like to live with mental distress as a trans, gender diverse or non-binary person in Aotearoa New Zealand. It exposes the many forms of discrimination these communities can experience in housing, healthcare and corrections facilities, and how this discrimination can contribute to their mental distress, too.

Tom Reilly and Diego Opatowski

Project: Loko is a six-part documentary series following the extraordinary tale of one Māori man’s journey from gangs to international fame and back again, including spending time in a mental health unit, becoming homeless and seeking wellness through te ao Māori. The series will be released via the New Zealand Herald’s online platform in 2021.


Juliette Sivertsen

Project: Just Listen is a seven-part New Zealand Herald podcast series on how to support someone living with serious and ongoing mental distress. Each episode explores how friends and whānau members have helped their loved ones through tough times.

John Boynton

Project: Māori experiences of NZ’s mental health services is a series exploring Māori experiences with distress. Published on The Hui, the article and video explore te ao Māori views on what experiencing psychosis, seclusion and negating schizophrenia diagnoses can mean and how Māori can recover in a way that works and is relevant for them.

Adam Dudding

Project: Out of My Mind is a seven-part podcast series which shares people’s stories of what it’s like to live with mental distress. The series, which was hosted on, won a 2020 Voyager Award for joint Best Episodic/Recurrent Podcast.


Jehan Casinader

Project: The Inside Word is a six-part panel show for TVNZ Duke. Each week, Jehan Casinader interviewed three guests about a different topic such as cyber-bullying or body image. The guests shared raw, honest and compelling stories from their own lives – and explained how they approach their mental health challenges.

Tasha Impey

Project: Not a blanket approach is a series of personal stories for TVNZ’s digital current affairs platform RE:. The video series features six Kiwis from across Aotearoa, all with different personal trials and triumphs. The episodes explore mental health and show that there’s not a blanket approach to living through the tough stuff.

Indira Stewart

Project: Together Alone is a multimedia project for RNZ which explores why so many Pasifika people experience mental distress – and why so few seek help.


Katie Kenny and Laura Walters

Project: The last 150 years has seen the evolution of New Zealand's mental health system from big institutions, where people were kept "out of sight, out of mind", to today's community care model, with an increasing focus on resilience and mental wellness. Through the Maze is a feature series looking at this evolution as well as societal attitudes towards mental health.

Mike Wesley-Smith

Project: A three-part series for TV3’s The Nation called Perpetrators or Patients?, investigating experiences of mental distress in New Zealand’s criminal justice system.

Tess McClure

Project: Mad Pride, a journalistic piece exploring the fight to reclaim autonomy and challenge discrimination within mental health services. The piece was published in Vice and won the MHS’ prestigious Mental Health Journalism award.


Yvonne O'Hara

Project: Yvonne completed and published her second resource in her Down on the Farm series in June 2016. Down on the Farm: Rural families and mental health in the South, a four-page rural resource, was delivered to 38,500 rural families. 

Kim Vinnell

Project: Kim's project, exploring mental health and the workplace, aired on TV3's Story in November 2015. Watch Mental illness in the workplace and Protecting our mental health at work. Blogs from musician Ben Read, mindfulness trainer Stephen Archer and psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald were written. Visit Newshub's Mental Health Hub.


Charlotte Bellis

Project: Charlotte’s media grant project was an investigative 60 Minutes story about postnatal depression, broadcast on Prime TV in May 2015. A Mother's Anguish explores a maternal mental health service in the North Island targeting 650 mothers and babies each year – and talks to those with personal experience of postnatal depression.


Chris Barton

Project: An investigative, feature length article published in the July 2014 issue of North & South magazine. This 12-page special report is called Speaking out about suicide.


Dylan Cleaver

Project: A four-day special report in the NZ Herald called Sport's dark shadow about mental health in elite sport. It comprised several articles ranging from pressures facing cricket and rugby players, to the positive influence of ex-players like Sir John Kirwan.

Sonya Wilson

Project: A mental health special on TVNZ's 20/20. Stories included depression in elite sportsmen, a look at anxiety disorders, mental health in youth, and an interview with comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax.


Guy Frederick

Project: A photojournalism project and exhibition called The Space Between Words. It chronicled the internal journeys of 14 individuals in the two years following the devastating Canterbury earthquakes as they rebuilt their lives and flourished again.


Aaron Smale

Project: A feature article called The Stranger You Know in North & South magazine about the links between adoption and mental distress - an issue that has affected the mental health of a significant number of New Zealanders.


Gareth Watkins

Project: Rainbow Touchstones, a series of digital stories around mental health issues in New Zealand's lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex community.

Yvonne O'Hara

Project: A 16-page newspaper supplement on rural mental health called Down on the Farm: depression and mental health in the rural South. It outlined the issues causing stress and depression among farmers in Otago and Southland.


Amanda Cropp

Project: A feature article for North & South magazine called No Refuge focussed on mental health issues facing refugees in New Zealand.