Learn Visual Story Telling and Documentary and Street Photography Skills

In the Click Happy Academy, you get to learn alongside talented young artists from around the country.

The goal is to develop your photography skills and help you become a powerful visual storyteller.

You will get to learn how to use your cellphone or DSLR camera in manual settings.  This will give you greater creative control over your imagery.

Your tutor is a past winner of New Zealand's Creative Photographer of the Year.


Photography | Philosophy | Philanthropy

Step 1 Photography

Step 1: Photography

  • You learn manual settings on your DSLR or Phone (to give you more creative control)
  • Composition skills
  • Creative storytelling
  • Documentary Photography Skills
  • Street Photography Skills
  • How to edit your photographs in Lightroom ( a free app)
  • Weekly photographic challenges to help you develop your natural talents and learn image critiquing skills.

Step 2  Philosophy


  • The photography challenges are also wellbeing challenges that help you build creative grit and self-compassion.
  • Our brand of philosophy is called HeArtivism and helps you become smarter in 4 brains, not just one
    • Head (Wairau / Inspiration / Problem Solving / Critical Thinking)
    • Heart (Aroha / Human Connections / Communication / Self compassion)
    • Guts (Mana / Character-Based / Emotional / Intuitive / Skill mastery)
    • Ground (Papatuanuku / Community / Environmental Stewardship / Service beyond self )
  • We help you to understand where you are blocking your best work and give you tools that can help to shift those blocks.

Step 3: Philanthropy


By successfully completing a term of Click Happy in Schools you can earn your pass into Click Happy Impact Academy where you are shown how to use your photography as a philanthropist.  You are also mentored by award-winning professional photographers.

  • A philanthropist is a person who donates time, money, experience, skills or talent to help create a better world.
  • In our program, we learn photography so that we can create content for our favourite charities.
  • The added benefit is that by helping the charities with their creative communication challenges, we make ourselves more relevant in the rapidly changing job market that is in need of creative, resilient, innovators.  Win - Win.



Sounds Great!  How does it work?

Who is the course for?

  • Youth who hope to have a career that involves innovation and creativity.
  • Creative Youth aged year 7 and above (each selected school gets up to 10 scholarships to distribute)
  • Teachers who want a new and creative way to teach wellbeing to their students.

Click Happy 101 is a Hybrid Program

  • Part of it is online
    • The initial lessons (One hour once a week on Zoom plus online reading)
    • The posting of the images on our Signal channel for feedback
  • Part of it is practical
    • You are given a photographic challenge and have to go outside into the real world to answer the challenge.
    • You are challenged to look deeper and see things from a new perspective

How much of a time commitment is this?

  • The reading and watching the course materials will probably take about 30 minutes to an hour a week.
  • The zoom is for an hour and is optional but you will get lots from it.
  • The practical photography experiments can take one second to click one shot to hours to experiment and play your way into an image you love...that is all up to you.
  • As with most things in life you will get out of it what you put into it.  The more curiosity and play the better your photography will become.


If you do the work you will leave with a portfolio of imagery, a deeper understanding of how to use your camera and knowledge of yourself as an artist which will give you power to create cooler work.  Once you graduate you are given an option of joining the Click Happy Impact Academy (also free) and deeping your knowledge of visual story telling and creative wellbeing.


What gear do I need?

  • Access to a cellphone or camera that has manual settings
    • to get manual settings on your phone just download the free version of Adobe Lightroom.
    • manual settings on a camera are usually an "M" on the dial on the top if you aren't sure ask a teacher, camera shop, or local camera club.
  • Access to the internet
    • to upload your images onto the Signal channel and to receive the course materials.  And permission to use Signal from your parents if you are under 13.
    • to access the Mural App which is where part of the program takes place.
    • to Access Google Drive where you will keep your images in folders shared with us.
  • The newer the phone the better the camera typically but an older iPhone 10 or newer will have a very good camera on it.  With androids, you usually need one that is new to two years old to have a decent camera on it.   The more cameras on the back usually the better, but to be honest we can teach you the basics on any cellphone as long as it has at least one camera).
  • also in a pinch, you could use an iPad or tablet with a camera to take the course and then do heaps of chores to save up money to upgrade.



Mary Londt – 16 – Waikato

Click Happy is an inspiring course, not only encouraging students to face their fears about photography and art, but also helping them to understand what makes them think and feel, and how they can show that through art. Thank you so much.

Mary Londt - 16 - Waikato


My skills have definitely gotten better. I found out a way that I can sorta tell a story within photography which I find really useful.

Sydney - 15 - Taupo Nui-a-Tia College

Te Kahariki Waitai – 15 – Otaki

I loved the mentor and the environment she created. I really enjoyed having a purpose for my photos, like I take lots of photos but this cause has given them a background story. I want people to be able to feel my images. I feel like I have learnt a lot about how to achieve that during this course.

Te Kahariki Waitai - 15 - Otaki


Everyone there is so kind with great positive feedback also to help improve, and i've learnt so much about photography since the beginning

Ariana - 12 - Chilton St. James


Now when I take photos I think more about the story, angles, composition and lots more that makes a good photo instead of just pushing down the button.

Hazel - 12 - Royal Oak Intermediate


I've developed my creativity and grit and learned more about some important concepts in photography.

Humaira - 16 - Zayed College for Girls


“Great course with an high energy, very talented photographer. My daughter started to think out of
the box and loved the practical side to it. She learnt a lot. Wish I had that opportunity at her age.”

Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity…

Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity you gave my daughter to participate at your Click Happy course!

In your course she met other girls of similar age and interest and explored her creativity in a very kind and safe environment. Not only did she learn the basics of photography, composition and presentation in a fun and playful manner, moreover the course concentrated on topics like self compassion , body compassion, emotional literacy, mindfulness and resilience. The participants explored emotional needs, learned how to express them artistically and how to present their work without fear of being exposed. Doing this they sometimes had to push through feelings of frustration with grit and tenacity and even ventured outside their comfort zone. The girls learned how to support each other and how to give and receive kind and constructive critique.

What a great tool for kids to learn at this age! I wished this could be part of every school curriculum.

At all times we parents were well informed and included. Several times you contacted us via phone to ensure the girls’ well-being especially when you touched on some more sensitive topics during your course. My daughter and I both felt very well looked after, cared for and safe throughout your course.

Mandi, I think you are an amazing mentor both for creativity and well-being and we hope that you will be able to continue with your great work.

Thank you!


"Getting me into the community a lot more than what I'm used to and I loved how it made you more aware of the beautiful scenes around us that we don't realize on a day to day basis. I also like the way Click Happy along with Mandi was so helpful when I was at the bottom of the grit pit"

Jayden - 13 - Te Kura Kaupapa O Pohutukawa MSWA

("the grit pit" is when you stretch out of your comfort zone and find yourself struggling or in a free fall as you transition between what you know and what is unknown but where good growth lies. I showed this in a diagram but the kids labeled it themselves "the Grit Pit")


I feel that I have became more confident in taking photos in general. It used to be quite scary taking photos in public but I have grown the confidence to that now.

Scarlett - 13 - Nga Tawa


Thanks to Click Happy, I'm not afraid to be myself, and to express my creativity through photography.

Jun - 18 - Graduate of Papakura Highschool

Yahvi Dhabuwala – 13 – Wellington

“These 8 weeks have been a fantastic new experience for me. I was a little nervous at first to meet new people but I am very happy I got over that. There was definitely no reason to be
nervous! The contents of the coarse was great for a beginner like me, we learnt the basic techniques of photography and had a good amount of time to master them. The homework for
the coarse was challenging at times but it took up just the right amount of time. It taught me commitment and grit. Moreover this coarse wasn't just about photography, we talked a lot
about body image and compassion and we learnt to be kind to ourselves and others. Over all I am very glad to have participated, everyone was very welcoming and kind. Mandi, it was an
honour to learn from you, you are an amazing mentor! Thank you so much!”

Yahvi Dhabuwala - 13 - Wellington

Chris Pigott, Manager Libraries & Museum

"The workshops in three of our libraries were well-facilitated and well-attended. Mandi Lynn was confident and professional with the participants. The sessions were an appropriate mix of some theory and proportionately more activity – students learning through doing, with an expert hand to guide them.
There would be real value in Click-Happy courses continuing, particularly in areas like the Far North, where there are high levels of social deprivation and limited access to quality equipment and instruction. These sessions also have the potential to flick a switch for some of the participants and open up potential career pathways that they may not have realized existed.
We recommend the Click-Happy, and hope that it continues and grows."

Chris Pigott, Manager Libraries & Museum

Neha Arunkumar – 17 – Lower Hutt

If I could describe this course in one word, I'd have to say, "inspiring". Mandi really opened our eyes to the wider world of photography and how it's more than just "taking a picture". Furthermore, we have learnt skills that allow us to adapt our thoughts and ideas, allowing us to create art that we were passionate about. All I can say is, THANK YOU 🙂

Neha Arunkumar - 17 - Lower Hutt


I am grittier and am more confident that I can complete long term goals and tasks like this course. It made me persevere and find new ways to problem solve and think outside the box. I liked the PAD challenge, & even though sometimes I edited all my photos at once I’m very very proud of myself for taking a photo every single day - 42/42!!

Gin - 15 - Waiopehu College

Khanya Ndebele – 16 – Rodney/North Shore District

Click Happy is a really good course that has really gotten me to open my eyes in terms of photography! I've learnt an extraordinary amount during this course. I appreciate how everyone involved is so kind and welcoming. The constructive criticism is very helpful and makes me think about how I could improve my work in many different aspects. The amount of creativity I have encountered in these people is phenomenal. I really value the opportunity I received to take part in this scholarship course.

Khanya Ndebele - 16 - Rodney/North Shore District


I had a wonderful experience with the Click Happy Program , I didn't expect it would be like this at all , there's a lot of learning and I need to go back to my presentation files and read them again to grasp all the learning as its not just about photography but it teaches you important life skills

Skyler - 11 - Royal Oak Intermediate


I used to be a very shy and nonindependent person, Click Happy helped me learn that I can be myself, I know that i have Definitely grown as a person this summer. I enjoyed Meeting new people, having such a great teacher and student mentors (Mandi you are always so supportive and positive. You give me feedback that makes me so happy and feel like I have accomplished something). I also really liked doing new challenges eg things u would never do.

Jessie - 12 - St Josephs (2021) St Kevins College (2022)

Nico Febery – 11 – Waikato

I liked how we had difficult tasks but they weren't super difficult. It has let me start volunteering to take photos for kids greening taupo and made me love photography even more.

Nico Febery - 11 - Waikato


I've become more confident in my photography skills. I am grittier. I am not afraid to fail forward, and I have met a lot of new people who are passionate about the same things I am.

Jumana - 13 - Hamilton Girls' High School


For me Click happy was a great way to extend further outside my comfort zone. I have never really been somebody who liked posting pictures of myself but Click Happy has been a really great space in experimenting with self portraits and other various skills. I have learned that perfection isn’t everything and that even if I don’t finish something, tomorrow gives me reason to try harder and create something new and inspiring. I am not afraid to fail, I am more experimental and I have gained more experience through this course.

Kriya - 14 - Carmel College

Senna Watson – 13 – Waikato

I loved the passion that was put into all of our teaching, and the way you made sure all of us were on the same page. I loved the way you made our mental wellbeing a big part of it! 🙂

Senna Watson - 13 - Waikato


I’m more confident in my control over the outcome of an image through using manual settings and have become more free in the way I make my images.

Dani - 16 - Homeschooler


I am more confident in my photography skills and less afraid to step out of my comfort zone, to make mistakes and take risks.

Sariah - 16 - TKKM ō Te Kotuku

Elsie Palmer year 10 – New Plymouth

Elsie was in our post COVID intake where we ran our first Click Happy Plus Scholarship program
"Hi Mandi,
This is Elsie, and I was just emailing to tell you that I just had my first successful art gallery exhibition! I sold 5 of my flower prints at an art exhibition at a local gallery called The Collaboration. Thank you so much for helping with my photography I don’t think I would have made it this far without your guidance."

Elsie Palmer year 10 - New Plymouth


I've of course become more confident in my photography skills but also I have learned persistence and becoming a more strong and independent person.

Amber - 13 - Caramel College


Do I need to continue to the Philanthropy / Mentorship part of the course?

  • Nope, but you will probably want to as you will have made friends and you will be able to continue to develop your creative community if you carry on. You will need to complete CH101 before you could be considered for the advanced course.









I'm in! How do I sign up? (For Students and Teachers/Youth Workers)

  1. First download this Permission file and have your parent/guardian fill it in (Please do not email the Permission to us).
  2. Once the Permission has been completed and signed by your parent's/guardian's, photograph/scan the Permission.
  3. Fill out the online form below and upload your Permission on the form. Do not email the Permission to us.


Sign the Form online using the signature box

Teachers wanting to participate also need to fill out this form

So we can contact you if we have any issues with your registration.
You can select as many as you wish

Our wonderfully amazing brilliant funders & sponsors

Every Body Is A Treasure Charitable Trust
Funders & Sponsors 2020/2021/2022/2023/2024
Lotto Scale-Up Wellington Community Trust ANZ

  • Far North
  • Rodney North Shore
  • Waitakere City
  • Manukau
  • Papakura Franklin
  • Kirikiriroa / Hamilton City
  • South Waikato
  • Rotorua
  • Tongariro
  • Hutt Valley
  • Wellington
  • Central Otago
  • Coastal Otago / Waitaki
  • Wairarapa
  • Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga
  • Tamatea / Tamaki-Nui-A-Rua
  • Great Barrier
  • Manawatu / Horowhenua
  • Whanganui / Waimarino / Rangitikei
  • Auckland City
  • South Taranaki
  • Marlborough
  • Mataatua
  • Whangarei / Kaipara

  • Invercargill
  • Henderson
  • Kaipatiki
  • Masterton
  • Manukau
  • Waikato
  • Hamilton
  • Wellington
  • West Auckland
  • Papakura
  • North Shore
  • Waitomo
  • Rangitīkei
  • Dunedin
  • Taupo
Cossie Club
Thames District Council Auckland City Council Papakura Local Board

And Youth Librarians! We had no idea how amazing these community treasures are until recently! Thank you to all of the Youth Librarians who have seen the beauty in the project and have invited us to bring it to their region and who are helping to spread the word. You have halved our work and quintupled the number of youth who get to experience this program. What gifts!

Click Happy in Schools – 2022

Updated on 2022-10-20T14:43:47+13:00, by Mandi.