Tackling wellbeing at Farmstrong rugby event

Dairy farmer Mohi Beckham-Adams says he enjoyed watching the recent Bay of Plenty versus Waikato rugby match, but it was the socialising and connecting with others that really made his day.

“Me and the family came away from the day feeling really uplifted,” the 41-year-old says.

“It’s all about having a chance to re-charge your batteries and helping everyone realise they need to have a break and look after their wellbeing… I’ve only just realised recently that I need to do that.”

Mohi and his whānau run a dairy farm with 490 cows near Pukehina in the Bay of Plenty. They’ve also set land aside to grow kiwifruit and avocados.

His own journey to wellbeing began about a year ago when he found himself in a dark place.

“I was working long hours, not spending time with the family or taking a break and my brother phoned me up worried about me.”

That was the trigger for Mohi to take stock of his situation and see a counsellor.

“She helped me understand why I was feeling the way I was, and we went back to some childhood stuff. I’ve never asked for help before, but it was totally worth it. It was a life-changing moment.”

He says asking for help if you’re under the pump takes a lot of courage and strength.

“It takes more strength to ask for help and talk about how you’re feeling then to puff your chest out, be staunch and act like a tough guy.”

Day of wellbeing and rugby

Farmstrong was gifted match day naming rights by the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union (BOPRU) for the rugby game which was held at Tauranga Domain on 30 October. The final score was 37-33 to Waikato.

Farmstrong hosted a wellbeing workshop in the morning before the game and set up a hospitality hub inside a marquee for people to socialise in during the game.

In addition, Farmstrong and BOPRU also ran a skills and drills session for students at Paengaroa School with some of the Bay of Plenty players the day before the big game.

Mohi attended the workshop called Farmers and Growers Workshop: Keep learning, me ako tonu before the game.

The workshop focussed on wellbeing and was run by Farmstrong project manager Gerard Vaughan.

“The vibe was really positive and I loved it. I really take my hat off to Farmstrong. There was a lot of science and data behind the wellbeing messages and it confirmed for me the kinds of things you should be doing to look after yourself and your friends and family,” Mohi says.

The workshop also provided a great opportunity to meet people and network.

After the workshop, Mohi picked up his wife, Matewai, and three kids and they headed to the marquee to watch the rugby match.

“My wife really loved it because she could gas-bag to lots of other people. There was lots of chatting and lots of different people there which was great.”

He said the game was good, but it was the networking and socialising that was the important thing.

“We watched the game when they were close to the try line, but that was about it… we can always watch the replay,” he laughs.

Exercise and music key

Mohi says exercise and music are key when it comes to looking after his own wellbeing.

He’s set up a gym on his farm for locals to come and work out and have a catch up.

“Exercise is key for me otherwise I go backwards with my wellbeing, plus it’s a great way to connect with people.”

He’s also into music, teaching guitar at the local school, as well as kapa haka.

“Playing guitar is a massive way to unwind for me. I get in the zone and in the moment when I’m playing, and it helps a lot.”

Mohi says a big lesson he’s learnt lately is the importance of being a good listener.

“I always call a few mates each week or go for a cuppa and check in with them. Being a good listener is really important because people open up more.”

His advice to other farmers is to not be shy about talking about how they’re feeling.

“Farming is a tough job and I hope more people will start to talk about mental health and wellbeing.”

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