Doing 25 push-ups a day with friends during the covid lockdown has inspired Matt Holden to launch a day out for mates, “whoever they may be”.
Mates of Mates for Mates will be held at the Waikoko Gardens, Tomoana Showgrounds, Hastings on Friday, November 10 as a fundraiser for the Rural Support Trust.
The concept stems from covid lockdown when Holden was reluctantly dragged into the 25-day push-up challenge to raise awareness of mental health. It became a social media phenomenon in 2020.
“I got really anxious and thought, shit I’m going to get nominated for this. Sure enough, I got nominated and it was the best that could have happened,” Holden says.
He identified 25 friends to join him during the challenge, which then took on a life of its own.
“Suddenly there was this community of a bunch of guys in our 50s. We either went to school together, worked together or were at university together. The more we got into it … we were doing press-ups then having a chat into our phone and we’d post that.
“It was raw, real and from the heart. Some of the stuff from the guys was pretty moving.”
Holden, of Kelso Genetics, said the comments inspired him to ask a friend at Barefoot Pictures to produce a short video using the comments.
The 16-minute video was produced but, as life moved on, the video was put to one side. That was until July this year, when Holden felt people need some inspiration after a tough start to 2023, particularly in the upper North Island.
“We’d had Gabrielle and it looked like we going into a drought. Things were pretty bad so I posted the video on social media. It got 3000 views within days.
“And now I’m going to use this Mates of Mates for Mates idea to hold an event, to get people together, share the love and give everyone something to look forward to.
“Everyone is feeling so beaten up economically, environmentally and politically – and you can put those in whatever order you want.”
Holden has planned a fun-filled afternoon where people can relax, learn some new skills and most of all enjoy time with their mates.
He will co-host the event with television presenter and mental health advocate Matt Chisholm. Local legend Hamilton Logan, who lived through the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake and 1938 Esk Valley flood, will also share his experiences. Tickets are $50, which includes a goodie bag, with all money going to the Rural Support Trust.
“It’s not just for blokes, it’s for everyone. Your best mate might be your wife,” Holden said.
Supporters have been quick to get on board. Forsyth Barr heard of Holden’s plan and contacted him offering to help and within a month he had attracted 40 businesses and $30,000 in cash and $40,000 in kind to support the event.
“I was stunned by the support. It didn’t really feel like work.”
Holden hopes people will use the day as a chance to get away from their farms, work and the associated stresses.
“I’ve had my own issues with anxiety and depression and even talking to some of our farmer clients I could sense that people were pretty fragile. I know if you have something to look forward to it makes your feel better. I thought right I’m going to do something to help these people and not just rural folk.
“All I’ve learnt through life is the most valuable thing you can give someone is your time,” Holden says.
More: Tickets can be purchased here.