Inspirational Customers #1: Jimi Hunt


Jimi Hunt is a man who has spent most of his life doing ridiculous things for his own amusement. Things like building the World's Biggest Waterslide, playing golf through the streets of downtown Auckland and holding an alternative summer Olympics including events such as sandcastle building and frisbee golf.

But what none of his friends knew was that Jimi had been silently battling with depression. It was eating him alive from the inside, affecting his business, losing him friends and slowly, painfully destroying his marriage.

Disillusioned with the help and advice he received, he read that having a goal could help with depression. Five minutes later Jimi set his goal and announced it to the world — he would travel the entire 425km length of the Waikato River on an inflatable mattress. Loneliness, 21,000 people following the journey on Facebook, chancing upon a dead body in the river, unbridled kindness from strangers, physical pain and crazy psychic predictions are just some of the strange tales from the river.


We're absolutely stoked that we have Jimi as a customer and had the delight of having a chat, asking some question and getting an insight to his daily thoughts.


What made you start ‘Live More Awesome’?

After dealing with my own depression partly by swimming a lilo 425km from Taupo to Port Waikato, I realised the power of talking openly and honestly about what is going on inside you. Once 'Lilo The Waikato' was finished I realised that I needed something bigger to encompass all I wanted to do around helping people with their mental health, so, with my friend Dan, I started a charity to do just that. 


Briefly explain your slogan ‘Brutally Fuckin’ Honest”?

Brutal Fuckin' Honesty' is a simple concept around getting people to look inwards at themselves. Step 3 is to change, to grow and to evolve as humans to live better lives, but before you get to step 3, step 1 is to have the inspiration, the acknowledgement that you have mental health and you need to do something about it. Step 2 is Brutal Fuckin' Honesty. Looking inward, being real, cutting through all the shit that you tell yourself, that you lie to yourself about, being really, really honest about your failings (and your good parts) because you can't change what you don't acknowledge.


Where do you see New Zealand’s mental health future in 10 years?


Although we, as a society, are starting to do more around mental health, I think that we're still a long way off. I think it will get worse to a point where we can't ignore it. The World Health Organisation says that by the year 2025 80% of people will suffer from a mental health condition in their lifetime and by 2030 mental health related illness will be the leading cause of death in the world.

So, hopefully we'll all start looking after ourselves (and others) so that those predictions don't become a reality.


Drink of choice?

Chilled bottle of Schweppes Ginger Ale. I'm a simple man...


Do you have any goals you’re hoping to achieve?

 Get my own mental health from a 75 to a 90 on the scale. The more I learn, the more I improve myself, then the more I can share those learnings with anyone that would like to listen.


What three words would you use to live more awesome?

Change. Grow. Evolve. 


When I say chicken, you say?

Yes please.


What’s one mistake you’ve made and what you learnt?

 Trying to be too many things to too many people. I was trying to save the world and I wasn't even saving myself. You have to put yourself first, look after you and everything and everyone around you will see the benefits.


What’s it like floating down the Waikato river on a lilo?

 Lonely. Slow. Beautiful. Introspective. 


What’s something you’ve learned in your time with Live More Awesome?

 That in this current climate you have to trick people into talking about mental health. I built the World's Biggest Waterslide to do exactly that. It generated millions and millions of dollars of media coverage and I got to spread the mental health message off the back of a silly (but ridiculously fun) slide. 


Do you like small talk?

 I don't even know how to do it.

Unless you want to talk about real shit that actually matters, to you, to me, to the world, then you will see me slowly drift off and find another conversation. I don't care about the rugby, the Kardashians or what you had for breakfast, I care if you are happy, fulfilled, excited, passionate and if not how I can help you become so.


What’s one thing you appreciate more than anything in the world?


People who are warm, loving and kind.

And temperatures that are warm. I really, really, really, don't like to cold. (That's why I live six months of the year in Mexico!)


Pretend you're eating that Classic chicken roll....

I'm always eating that roll.


Describe your baguette to me?

Without a lie, it's pretty much the best bread roll I've ever had.


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