Response to a question about International Men’s Day

I was asked a question on Reddit about International Men’s Day and thought I would share the answer here:

Question:

Can you give a bit more context about IMD? What’s the background, reason for you being involved, why we should all get involved/care?

Answer:

On 19 November 1989, Jerome Teelucksingh watched the Trinidad and Tobago soccer team play the United States to qualify for the 1990 world cup. It was a home game for Trinidad and Tobago and they only needed a draw to qualify. This was the closest they had ever come to the world cup and the atmosphere on the islands was electric.

Fans crammed into the overcrowded stadium and people sat in close circles around TVs and radios. Everybody was unified with one vision of making into the world cup. It was an incredible sense of community and solidarity that had a profound effect on young Jerome.

Inspired by this sense of community and a compassion for the young men of the Trinidad and Tobago, Jerome started International Men’s Day on 19 November 1999.

Since then, International Men’s Day has spread to over 80 countries.

International Men’s Day is a grassroots celebration which means that each country, each organisation and each person is free to approach it in their own way. There are six pillars of international men’s day:

  • To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sportsmen. There are six pillars of international men’s day:
  • To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sportsmen but every day, working-class men who are living decent, honest lives.
  • To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, childcare, and the environment.
  • To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
  • To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law
  • To improve gender relations and promote gender equality
  • To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.

In New Zealand, we are focusing on men’s wellbeing and the contributions of the men in our lives.

I failed two years of Drama in high school, but it paid off when, at age 18, I went for a job interview for ‘peer supporter’ at the soon to be open Youth Health Centre in Christchurch. It was group interviews and I managed to put on a good show. Fortunately, I also ended up being good at the job.

This was in the 1990s when the suicide rate for young men had jumped up dramatically. So we were very concerned about how to help young men. This was my introduction to some of the issues men face. Jump forward to early last year and figured that International Men’s Day was a way to support men in New Zealand.

To become the co-ordinator of International Men’s Day in New Zealand I had the easiest job interview ever. I simply started coordinating International Men’s Day. I spoke to the UK co-ordinator and he said that pretty much all I needed to do because no one else was doing it.

Being authentic is important to me so I am reluctant to embrace corporate marketing strategies, but I did have a chat with a media consultant who was keen to help and he said I needed a mission statement and a vision statement. Writing these was actually a useful exercise. Here they are:

Mission

IMD’s mission is to create a stronger sense of unity and community for everybody by creating a positive space to encourage, support and celebrate men and to discuss men’s issues in a positive and affirming way. IMD provides a focal point that amplifies everyone’s individual efforts.

Vision

IMD’s vision is a society where men know they are appreciated, where they are encouraged to thrive, and where they have and feel the support of their communities.

I hope that wasn’t too long of an answer to your question.

International Men’s Day New Zealand 2019

International Men's Day - Value the men around you - fist bump

International Men’s Day is on November 19th and is a great opportunity to do some good for the men in New Zealand. Each year around that time we promote positive messages about men and we hope you’ll join us. We want a society where men know they are appreciated, where they are encouraged to thrive, and where they have and feel the support of their communities.

We invite you to be involved. Doing anything at all lets people know you care about men and contributes to creating a positive, encouraging atmosphere for men. It can be as simple as just letting people know it is International Men’s Day, posting on social media or putting up a poster.  

In our inaugural year, 2018, we ran these events: 

  • We asked people to share a story about a man they knew who they admired and share it on our facebook page with the chance to win a gift card prize. 
  • Offline, we asked people to write about a man they admired on a card. We received over 200 cards with some really touching stories. It was an incredibly positive experience.. People really do regard the men in their lives highly and we made it easy for them to express this.
  • We had a biker run which raised over $400 for Male Survivors (of Sexual Abuse) Aotearoa.
  • We also had a casual get together for a drink and a chat.

Some others put on events in Hawkes Bay, Paraparaumu and Invercargill and Linwood, Christchurch library had a men’s day display.

This year we are using the theme ‘Value the men around you’

Men’s Day is about men, but it is for everybody. There are no requirements for being involved. You can just go ahead and do your thing. We would prefer if you kept us in the loop and let us know what you are doing. Knowing you are involved would really be encouraging for us and will let many more men know that people like you care. 

If you are running an event we will be able to promote it on Facebook page. Also, we may know other people in your area that you can connect with.

Send us a message at info@internationalmensday.nz if you have any questions, would like to read our guidelines for events, or would like electronic copies of posters, social media graphics, or the cards mentioned above.

International Men’s Day New Zealand 2018 review

2018 was our first year and it was a tremendous success. Initially we wanted to do ‘more than nothing’ and we did much more than that.

Media

We had a couple of interviews about men’s day.

Chris Lynch from NewsTalk ZB:

  /p>

 and radio interview with Dad’s On the Air Australia.

Dads on the Air interview with International Men’s Day New Zealand

International Men’s Day NZ also made it to mainstream TV. Breakfast and Seven Sharp both had short segments. Unfortunately, the hosts didn’t know much about men’s day so we will have to be more proactive about informing people next year.

Events

Hawkes Bay

Kids Need Dads Hawkes Bay put on a couple of events

Flipping the Switch: Ever thought about living a life less stressful, or maybe the sheer cost of renting / owning or making ends meet is starting to get to you ?Phillip Sheehan and his family “flipped the script” and found another way to live that is outside the box. 

Men’s Wellbeing in Hawke’s Bay, How are we doing?
Malcolm Byford, Kurt Fenton, Joe Whare talked to health workers, organisations and individuals working in or supporting Mens Wellbeing in our community.

Christchurch

We are based in Christchurch and we had three events

We had a cuppa in the square event where we shouted people a coffee in exchange for sharing a story about a man they know who they admired, respected or are grateful for

We had a biker run with more than 20 riders which raised over $400 for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

We also had a get together for a drink and a chat.

Elsewhere

There were also some low key events in Paraparaumu and Invercargill

Online

We ran a competition online for a $100 gift card. People submitted stories about the men they admire. There were some beautiful stories of some fantastic men. 

Promotional banner for our 2018 Facebook competition

International Men’s Day New Zealand on Dad’s On the Air radio show

We got interviewed by Dad’s on the Air. An Australian radio program.

Dad’s on the Air banner

Dads on the Air is a community radio program dedicated to fatherhood and issues surrounding men and boys. In this program, we chat with Donald Pettitt and Iain Fergusson about the New Zealand celebration of International Men’s Day. The Kiwis have developed their own approach. Donald and Iain tell us that over a cup of tea locals are asked to describe an important male in their life and the response has been inspirational. There is a biker ride and other activities which are all part of the celebration. Our guests emphasise that the day is for everyone to participate in and enjoy.

When

November 22, 2018, from 11 am… and indefinitely

Where to Listen

www.dadsontheair.com.au

or podcast through iTunes

International Men’s Day Ride

International Men’s Day Biker’s Ride Flyer – Design by Humans vs Robots

International Men’s Day New Zealand Biker’s ride

See the Facebook event page for more details

Sunday, 18 November 2018 from 09:30
CMG Motorcycles – 122 St Asaph Street, Christchurch, New Zealand 8011
$20 – Pay at event

Proposed route (subject to change)

 

Proposed route

 

Planning to stop at i) Methven, then ii) Leeston for a couple of refreshment stops, before returning to Canterbury Mens Centre to wrap the event up with a sausage sizzle and raffle prize draws. Riding for approaching 3hrs with the stops intended to be 30-45mins at each location