The Naked Shepherd Challenge was a collaboration with Will To Live and Australian rural mental health charity The Naked Farmer.
This competition got New Zealand farmers (over the lock down period), to take their clothes off and post on social media, helping to spread mental health awareness with the tag line “It takes guts to get your clothes off, just as much as it does to speak about mental health”
There were over 200 participants, sharing their hard personal journeys with mental illness publicly online, and giving their support and advice to those who may be currently experiencing it.
John, Glenmore Station, Tekapo
“The best thing about farming is knowing where my food comes from and enjoying the best product from the farm.
To keep healthy I try to take time off farm with friends and family, remove yourself and come back with a clearer head.”
Kayne & Michael, North Canterbury
“Well after a night on the beers.. waking up on the edge of a hill to dogs barking wearing nothing but our boots and belts, we scragged ourselves a few pigs“
“My favourite thing about farming is being able to work with the girls every day, we have some gorgeous cows on our farm here and I love getting up to see them every day! “
-“I honestly struggled for a few days to answer a question seems so simple. But if I can post a picture of my booty for you all to see then I’m sure I can find something to say.
My will to live is as simple as seeing how excited my dogs are to see me when I let them out each morning, or waking up to the sound of the orphan lambs and calves calling me to feed them.
Sharing good times with my family and friends and even going through tough times as well.
Making mistakes and learning from them. I’m not perfect, nobody is, I have my own struggles and problems that I face each day, but I try my hardest to not let them weigh me down and always let the positives outshine the negatives.”
Three's a crowd
Rory, Zeb, Ryan - Southland
The lads doing a few jobs at once.
“Working with people you enjoy being around is one of the best ways to find job satisfaction! Being happy at work helps with a happier all round attitude that carrys on through the rest of your day to day life!
He aha te mea nui o te so, he tangata he tangata he tangata.”
Amanda Kittow, Hawkes Bay
“To keep healthy I make sure to get out and about with mates, have a few beers and have some bloody good yarns!
Don't worry about what other people think of you it's your life not theirs, so make the most of it cause you only get one shot at it!”
Dana & Matt, Hawkes Bay
“One of the best things about farming is that our kids get to experience farm life and we are able to spend time together.
Catching up with mates is great for our mental health, as well as having time out at the beach with the family.”
Claire & Jeff, Hawkes Bay
“Hi Guys, my fiancee and I are first time managers on a dairy farm in Patoka this season.
We've been hit hard by the drought and think this is a bloody good idea to get people laughing and taking time out of their day to focus on something other than the impacts of the drought and hopefully remember it's the little things in life that really make you appreciate where you are today.
Remembering that if you can get your kit off... you can sure as hell pick up the phone and talk to someone.
We have both been through a difficult time in farming and its initiatives like yours that keep us going!! Hope this will brighten someone else's day up
Jack, King Country
“Back on the shearing board, lunchtime at Moketenui Station.
My favourite thing about farming is the people in our industry.
Through the highs and lows rural people always come together to help each other.”
Kit & Emma, Takapau, Hawkes Bay
“My Will to Live is not knowing what the future has in store and the knowing it will be one hell of an adventure no matter where it takes me.
I keep healthy by doing something I love for a job. I've never worked a day in my life because I adore what I do and who I do it with - dogs and humans altogether. ￼
The thing I love most about farming is my team of dogs. They're my pride and joy and they mean everything to me.
I adore working with this beautiful woman, she comes in a seriously close 2nd!
We're two tough lasses who love what we do!”
Andrew, Maungahina Stud, Wairarapa
“I couldn’t think of life any other way, the fresh air, the views, working with animals, and the awesome people you meet along the way.
This isn’t something I’d normally do, but I thought bugger it, so come on you blokes, get ya rig out for a good cause.”
Sian, North Canterbury
“I have had a bit of family tragedy in my life, my father died in an on farm accident and my brother who was a shepherd committed suicide 4 years later.
I suffered severe depression and inflicted self harm in a couple of different forms, it took me years to finally laugh again and get back to being sane but luckily i had support all around me.
For my brothers 11 year ANZAC day anniversary i was mustering cattle on horse back with my team of dogs. Im in a place Jim would’ve loved to have been. Thats pretty special.
I would say the thing that made a difference was finding someone who i truly trusted to open up to.
I tried a couple of different counsellor type people and the one i settled on was so relatable to me, he gave me the smallest things to work on.
Like smiling back at 1 person each day and building from there.
Time heals but it does so slowly and you won’t be the same person.”
“My Will To Live is the land I am surrounded by, breathing in the freshest air at the top of the highest hills, the unpolluted night sky, the quiet of the Bush..
My Will To Live is my horses and dogs..
My Will To Live is being a strong woman standing proudly beside my man in farming..
My Will To Live is knowing one day I’ll bring kids into an environment that offers them so many opportunities”
“I retired on a small farm, it keeps me physically fit.
Sometimes I doubt what I'm doing, why battle floods, droughts and trying economic times.. it’s because I love the land, our animals and this place, in many ways it keeps me fit”
“My will to live is striving to be the best I can, while being concious of maintaining a work and family balance.
I have come to realise that I can get more done in a day if myself and others around me are happy.”
Kelsie, Hawkes Bay
“ I love what you guys are doing! Spreading a lot of positivity and awareness! Make people pay a lot more attention to it when your naked it’s bloody nerve racking getting your kit off but it’s for a good cause so what’s the harm
What I love about farming is being in an environment that I love everyday, never get sick of it! I love that farming challenges me and no day is the same. I mostly love getting to work with my best pals no matter how much they drive me up the wall ”
“Personally, All I have ever wanted to be is a farmer and whether it has been a good, bad or even a c**t of a day I wouldn’t change anything for the world.
Coming from Pongaroa, an isolated rural community, I think I can speak for the town that we really admire what Will To Live does, so me and my old mate Horse are to happy to strip bare for a great cause.
PS, special thanks to Andrew ‘the Maungahina stud’ for the inspiration.”
“My will to live is being on my horse, with my dogs and it's just me and the hills.
Having my man beside me has made my shepherding experience easier as I know on the bad days, he will be there with me.
This is the life for me.
Thanks for the competition! It made one hell of a crack up day haha”
Wendy, Hawkes Bay
“Surveying Dam Cleanout Job
My will to live is always trying to be optimistic even when you are stuck in the middle of a terrible drought!
'Always look at the dam being half full, not half empty'.”
Team photo from Young Farmers, Manawatu
“We like to keep fit by getting the whole crew out to do the odd jobs, many hands make light work.”
Renee, Hawkes Bay
“It’s easy to take your clothes off not easy to talk about mental health!
Call your neighbours.. pick up the phone and say Hi”