The Lowdown

Creating a mobile-first rabbit hole of positivity with rangatahi, for rangatahi, by breathing new life into a mental wellbeing platform.


Te Whatu Ora | Health Promotion


Platform redesign & rebuild



Health & wellbeing

Public sector

“The project RUSH was brought in to deliver required an effective understanding of how to apply Te Ao Māori principles, and they have shown themselves to have real integrity for this kaupapa.”

Suzie Tingley


Manager Digital Delivery, The Lowdown

The project

The Lowdown is a mental wellbeing platform originally launched in 2007. In recent years it was suffering from tired content, an outdated experience and low engagement. The new platform needed to be tailored to the needs of Maori and Pasifika youth today.

Te Whatu Ora engaged RUSH and cultural content specialists, Dioscuri, to collaboratively recreate this platform which would elevate and amplify Māori, Pasifika and rainbow rangatahi approaches to mental wellbeing.

The new The Lowdown was created for, and with, rangatahi to learn, express and engage around their hauora, identity, culture and mental health.




UX Design

UI Design

Minimum Viable Product

Frontend Development

Backend Development

Quality Assurance & Testing


Years since the original website launched


Rangatahi took part in research


Week from first code to shipping MVE

A woman sitting on the floor with her hands held to her chest

Now, next, later

The Minimum Viable Experience (MVE) required a complete platform rebuild using new and robust infrastructure and to develop new content that promotes broader wellbeing approaches, which are appropriate for Pasifika, Māori and rainbow youth. Culturally safe and considerate user research led the process, bringing young people, Te Whatu Ora’s Youth Partnership Group, clinicians and expert advisors together with our UX researchers, to conduct discovery interviews, concept reviews and usability tests.

Collectively we developed the vision to create ‘a rabbit-hole of positivity’ for rangatahi, drawing from the current real-world experience of content feeds and being the antidote to “doom-scrolling”.

This led the project to take a mobile-first, responding to how the target audience consumes and engages with content in their daily lives. We also considered how to ensure that this content could be consistently available to young people, wherever and whenever needed - a challenge when streaming video can drain data.

Image of The Lowdown screenshots on a mobile
"The RUSH project team (including developers) have worked closely with Te Hiringa Hauora to develop an innovative mobile-first product strategy for the redevelopment of The Lowdown. They worked with us to inform and iterate features for the initial roll-out, with a clear eye on the next phase of development, and making sure we don’t carry any technical debt forwards."

Suzie Tingley


Manager Digital Delivery, The Lowdown

Image of The Lowdown website showing content options

Anytime access

The cost of mobile data was identified as a barrier to accessing essential health and wellbeing information and digital health services. The Lowdown uses a solution architecture which enables the site to be zero rated so rangatahi with no data on their mobile phones can still access the site. This is essential when a young person may be trying to access mental health tools without data allowance on their device.

Content is king

The MVE had a tight timeframe, and we shipped the first phase of The Lowdown in July 2022, ten weeks after the first inception session. With user and community generated content being a primary focus, the platform will evolve through continuous improvement in developing a range of multimedia content with, by and for rangatahi.

Overshoulder photo of someone looking at The Lowdown on their smartphone.

Welcome to Your Lowdown

The Lowdown invites users in with rich media and relevant content designed and created for the audience. A familiar, social-style interface makes searching and engaging with content simple and interesting.

Visit The Lowdown.

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Ready to make better happen?