Lifehack was a systems-level intervention in youth mental health and wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Over 2013-2017 we grew the capacity of the system to support the wellbeing of young people, with an emphasis on co-design, prevention and capability building.

Use our runsheets, methods and other resources to improve your work alongside young people.

If you need inspiration or ideas for your own youth wellbeing programmes, our blog is the place for you.

Interested in our approach? Our initiatives page shows the range of programmes we ran from 2013 to 2017.

Our Impact

Lifehack put young people at the centre of service innovation. Between 2013 and 2017, we evolved our ways of working in response to evaluation and reflection on a wide range of activities.

We moved from an ‘app’ focus to working with people across the system who supported youth mental health and wellbeing. Working with people from diverse backgrounds and points of influence in the service system modeled our desire to move the system toward helping young people to flourish.

Our Final Report weaves the threads together

If you're strapped for time, head straight to the section for you:

  • Want to support youth-led lab, start up, social enterprise and innovation approaches to youth wellbeing? Section 4 is for you.
  • Working on the front-lines to influence youth wellbeing or responsible for workforce development? Check out Section 5.
  • Making policy about youth wellbeing, suicide prevention, education and youth development? You'll enjoy Section 6.
Lifehack final report title page

Our Latest Articles

Visit the full lifehack blog page to see all our articles.

Enabling participation in co-design

It’s time to go full circle and share with you our learnings on youth participation over the past three years. If you’re working in youth development or you’re part of a start-up that’s building a cross-disciplinary wellbeing/mental health intervention, read on! There might be some useful gems in here to help support safe, ethical and…

The Vulnerable Children Act & Your Practice

  If you work with young people, you will likely know about the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 and have a vague idea about the practicalities of this legislation. We teamed up with Kaitaia Constable and 2017 Flourishing Fellow, Rowena Jones, putting some questions to her about the VCA. Thanks also goes out to Kelsey Brown…

What I learnt from my time with Lifehack

I have dreamt and thought about Lifehack for the last three and a half years. Since joining the team in early 2014, I have done just about all of the roles and tasks under the sun, from organising events to writing reports, listening to communities, designing programmes, facilitating workshops, evaluating initiatives and more.   I’ve…

Embedding evidence in social-change work: Using protective factors

Over the years we’ve been trying to work out how to best embed evidence in our mahi in a way that’s accessible, practical and engaging. Much of the best-practice and research of how to improve wellbeing has been done and written up by smart folks from a variety of places. They give us an indication…

Oro Hackathon returns to Upper Hutt

Guest post by Paul Thompson of Upper Hutt Community Youth Trust   Why would I want to be involved in a hackathon and give up a whole weekend to help?  I mean I’m busy, I have too many things on and too many people that I’m working with already. Sound familiar?  Last year a group…

Online Project Kitchens

Experimenting with online facilitation Over the past six months, Lifehack has been experimenting with online environment as a way to get ideas off the ground and awhi the work of various members of our community. In February, Olivia & Kieran hosted a online ako about supporting LGBTIQ to flourish and then in March Christina hosted…

Putting frameworks from te ao Māori into action: wellbeing and prototyping

Over the years, Lifehack has used two main wellbeing evidence bases: The Five Ways to Wellbeing, an abbreviated version developed by the New Economics Foundation which was based upon the work of positive psychology professor Dr Martin Seligman. The second, Te Whare Tapa Whā, developed by Sir Mason Durie, a New Zealand indigenous model for…

Entrepreneurship tools for learning-focussed team processes

Learning-focussed environments We have written a fair bit about how we use experiments to drive insight. A learning-focussed approach to our work allows us to ask questions around effectiveness, and overall has lead to a very intentional approach to running programmes, workshops or other experiments (like social media ads, blog posts etc). Applying an experiment…

It’s Youth Week!

  This week we are celebrating Youth Week! Our focus is around how we can improve the systems that influence youth wellbeing. We’ll be releasing videos that demonstrate how people across Aotearoa New Zealand have been influencing change from their unique vantage point. (If you can’t wait for us to drip-feed them via Facebook and Twitter, you can…

In Lifehack's four years, we've learned a lot about how to apply tools and processes from codesign, facilitation, technology, te ao Māori, social enterprise and wellbeing science to a youth wellbeing context.

We've released our supply of resources for you to use in your mahi alongside young people. So please - check them out, print them off and find out for yourself whether they can recharge your work with young people!

Community Hackathon Manual

Host Your Own Community Hackathon

Community Hackathons are a magical way to bring together a diverse community to work on promising projects. We've found them so useful that we created a step-by-step guide to promoting, organising and hosting your own community hackathon!

Wellbeing Design Challenge

A wellbeing design challenge based around milk – it sounds strange, right! But this is one of our favourite sessions that we’ve run time and time again. If you want to introduce people to design thinking, this is a great place to start.

Relationship Building Sort Cards

Relationship-building is one of the foundations of effective facilitation. If you're not sure how to get people beyond the superficial “what do you do for work?" question, this Relationship Building Sort Card package could be what you need.

Creating Group Kawa (Culture): Ko Wai Au Worksheet

Think back to the last time you joined a new group of people. Perhaps you started a new job, turned up to a meetup group, or attended a training workshop. Did you have the opportunity to contribute to the culture and norms (the kawa) of the group from the outset...?

We recommend getting support as early as possible if you, or someone you know, are having a hard time with wellbeing or mental distress. Mental distress affects one in five New Zealanders each year and around half of us will experience distress at some time in our lives.