Mental health promotion (MHP) is integral to improving the overall health and well being of individuals, communities, and populations. However, knowledge and reporting about MHP which occurs throughout Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) is limited. This article reports findings from a qualitative study that sought to understand NZ health promotion practitioners’ (HPPs) MHP practice. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 15 HPPs employed at various health promotion organizations. Thematic analysis of interview transcripts identified three key themes. Two themes (planning and evaluation) related to practice directly and included various subthemes: needs assessment; principles/approaches/frameworks; operationalizing equity and te Tiriti o Waitangi; collaborative approaches; planning for evaluation; process evaluation domination; and evaluation challenges. The third theme related to the context of practice and encompassed various system influences restricting HPPs from practising as they wished. These were represented in four subthemes: contractual agreements; field fragmentation; in the shadows of mental ill-health and workforce capacity. Study findings highlight several opportunities to improve MHP practice in NZ. Most pertinently, the need for system-level action to address the factors restricting HPPs’ practice.

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