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