Tomorrow is Gumboot Friday - a mental health initiative in which New Zealander of the Year Mike King and mental health charity I AM HOPE are asking New Zealanders to wear their gumboots to work or school for a gold coin donation, to raise money for counselling for children.
Figures released last year by the Ministry of Justice, showed New Zealand's suicide rates had increased for four consecutive years; we are one of the leading countries in the world for youth suicide.
Last year in New Zealand 137 young people died by suicide and it's estimated another 3500 attempted to take their own lives. While government agencies are doing their best, some kids are waiting up to six months to receive the counselling they urgently need.
Gumboot Friday aims to raise $2 million to fund free counselling for school-aged kids. King says that initially this felt like a lofty goal, but based on the level of support he's received from around New Zealand, he's confident the target will be met.
The idea behind the wearing of gumboots is that, for many, having depression or anxiety can feel like walking through mud every day.
By wearing gumboots and spending a day walking in someone else's shoes, Kiwis can "show people who are struggling that they're not alone, and that it's important and normal to talk about the things that they're dealing with internally," King says.
The more opportunities New Zealanders are given to join the mental health conversation and help break the stigmas surrounding mental health issues, the better.
But if you don't have gumboots and feel uncertain about buying a pair of unattractive redbands, do we have happy news for you. The selection of gumboots sold in New Zealand is surprisingly fun and chic.
We took to the internet to search for stylish gummies. Here are our top picks - that you can go out and purchase today on your lunch break!
The Bed, Bath and Beyond Outdoors Foxy Tall Gumboot is half price, for just $27.40. These would look great teamed with a black maxi dress, or jeans and a linen shirt.
For a more pared-back look you could go for the plain olive Briers gumboot from Mitre 10, $33.90.
For a floral look you can't beat the Gumboot Botanica from Kings Plant Barn. A little more pricey at $79.99, they're a solid purchase.
The Storm Gumboots at Number One Shoe Warehouse promise sophistocation in their simplicity, and retail for only $39.99.
Mitre 10 stock these navy Briers, which boast a unique birdlife and floral design. They're lined and have a removable insole - at $44.99 a pair, that's a lot for your money.
These Briers boots from Mitre 10 are cute too, with their red polka dot design. They're also a little cheaper, at $35.90 a pair.
How cute are these ankle-boot style H&H Remy Woman's gummies from The Warehouse with their subtle pink flamingo design. They're only $29 too - a bargain, to be sure!
The chic H&H Raya's Gumboot from The Warehouse could almost be patent leather at first glance. Featuring glitter gutter elastic sides, and also selling at a great price of $29, these are our pick of the bunch.
Here's to a more stylish Gumboot Friday than we could have imagined!
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