Toby Nicolls runs 62km for Māia

Toby Nicholls is a man on a mission - literally and figuratively. In August he will be lining up in the Reefton ‘Resilience Ultra’ – a 62km ultra marathon designed to test even the toughest of competitors. Not one to shy away from a physical or mental challenge, Toby has set himself a goal of fundraising $10,000 for Māia’s Child and Youth Mental Health project.

Toby’s story is one of mental fortitude and resilience, something he feels is not taught well in New Zealand. “I wanted to challenge myself with something well out of my comfort zone. We’re naturally not comfortable with being uncomfortable, and intentionally taking on something like this is a great way to build resilience. The great thing about these events is that they are just as much of a mental challenge as a physical one.” Nicholls believes that “strong mental health is just as important as physical health, yet there is a massive stigma against talking about mental health in New Zealand.”

As a young man in his early 20’s, Toby struggled with a period of anxiety. Following a few sessions of professional counselling, Toby began to understand that his anxiety symptoms were the direct result of trauma he had faced. He wants New Zealanders to understand that it is important to look after mental wellness as much as physical health and to feel safe to have conversations about it. He now recognises how important it is to seek professional support when you need to.

“I’m passionate about mental health and want to help normalise conversation about it so that people feel safe to open up more. It’s ok to ask for help, just as you would go and see someone for a physical injury,” says Toby.

To support Toby’s māia/brave quest to raise $10,000 toward a modern, fit-for-purpose Child, Adolescent & Family outpatient facility please go to

To find out more about our Child and Youth Mental Health project, visit

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