Who sets up an international men’s day?

Donald Pettitt (right) talks about his experience with the men’s day group.

My day job is running a support service for men based in Christchurch. Our goal is Happy Healthy Canterbury Men and it involves a range of different projects.

Occasionally I come across people that say they want to do something more for men and boys. They aren’t thinking individual change but larger social change to address the many challenges that men/boys face.

Usually, I shrug and say “I want that too” pat them on the back and say be sure to sign up to our emails and I’ll keep an eye out for ways they can help. It’s such a daunting project taking on a culture, and living in an earthquake-prone city with a complex rebuild of my house has made this even harder to focus on more esoteric issues.

This time a few people approached me around the same time and I thought I’d get them together and see what happened. That few have turned into a group of seven and right from the first meeting they got down to work with the key focus being International Men’s Day on 19th November.

As I sipped my cup of tea during the first group meeting, the reality of what they are trying to do finally hit me. They don’t just want to have a cuppa on the day with an open invite to the community and a couple of pictures on Facebook. They want a campaign that has a national impact and they are acting like they mean it.

It’s interesting for me to watch a group form and evolve. It’s all part of the community development I do in my day job. But I’m finding this project especially rewarding already and expect us to have much more significant outcomes than I’d ever considered. I hope I’m looking back in another few months and saying it was even bigger than I thought at this point. I look forward to making that further post.

Donald Pettitt

Chief Executive Officer
Canterbury Men’s Centre

Some events that look interesting

Here are a couple of events that we are not affiliated with, but look like they will be interesting.


Hard-ly Speaking

Thursday 30 August
5.30PM – 7.30PM
Christchurch BMW

Hard-ly Speaking is an opportunity for every kind of man to gather together. Whether you’re beardy or baldy, Grandad or lad, get up at 4am to milk the cows, or stay up until 4am watching The Handmaid’s Tale, you’re invited to come and share your experiences.

You’ll hear from six diverse men – sharing their successes, failures and feelings, touching on conversations that flip traditional ideas of masculinity and triggering forward-thinking ideas for our society.

Some emotional buttons may be pushed – but we’ve got whisky for that.

Manly As?

Saturday 1 September

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū

With the recent explosion of feminism, the #metoo movement and the emergence of the terms ‘toxic masculinity’ and ‘mansplaining’, it’s easy to see that being a man in 2018 is not as simple as it once was. Can we all benefit from men taking on so-called ‘feminine’ traits? Or should we just let boys be boys? Jarrod Gilbert (Patched) speaks to three writers – Dominic Hoey (Iceland), Omar Musa (Here Come the Dogs) and Chris Tse (He’s So Masc) – about depictions of masculinity in their work, growing up male, and what it means to be ‘manly as’.