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MENZ Issues September 1999 Volume 4 Issue 8

Dad’s Army: Dispatch From the Front Line. Members of this growing movement joined the Libertarianz’ ‘Enough is Enough’ march in Auckland to protest against political correctness. Leader ‘General Justice’ spoke to the crowd after Lindsay Perrigo. They even got on TV!

Fifth Men’s Centre AGM elected new Chairman Jim Bailey. The Financial Report showed a healthy surplus…….

Chairman’s Report to 1999 AGM Every day the Family Courts trample on fathers’ rights, destroying families and lives…….

Secretary’s Report to 1999 AGM Although the wheels of the feminist juggernaught are starting to fall off……

Father’s Day Protests in Wellington A FUTURE and Mana Men’s rights protested outside the Family Court. Richard Prebble says changes may need to be made in family law……

Protest at Secret North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project Meeting On 2nd Sept, Dad’s Army picketed the North Shore Living Without Violence course provider…..

MATCH (Men And Their Children) formed in Tauranga, committed to shared custody as default position….

Patriarchy is Not the Cause of Violence during August,. the NZ Herald published a series of over 40 articles on violence. Readers didn’t get much insight into why the problem seems to get bigger the more funding becomes available…..

History of Men’s Centre North Shore snippets culled from the minutes give some idea of the trials and tribulations involved in establishing the Centre, and the sometimes turbulent relationships with other local organisations….

PASS (Prostate Awareness & Support Society) launch Prostate Awareness Week. In the USA, death rates are declining due to widespread screening and treatment. Here, the Ministry of health says screening is still "controversial"….

Political Meeting on Family Law Issues called by Separated Fathers…..

FREE Co-ordinator Resigns Veteran family law campaigner Darryl Ward is standing for parliament as the ACT candidate for Mana electorate…..

Separated Fathers meeting in South Auckland On 1st Sept over 20 men met in Mangere to discuss Child Support issues with the local IRD staff…….

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Dad’s Army: Dispatch From the Front Line

On 4th September, members of Dad’s Army joined the Libertarianz ‘Enough is Enough’ march in protest against political correctness.

12.00 Assembled corner of Beresford & Pitt St.

12.15 Distributed banners.

12.30 Group photograph taken.

13.00 Marched down Karangahape Rd to Queen St, chanting and singing.

13.30 Addressed by a very manly looking ‘Jenny Shipley’. We dutifully booed her. ‘She’ didn’t look worried!

13.45 A number of speakers spoke about the increasing lack of liberty in New Zealand.

14.00 Dad’s Army leader ‘General Justice’ spoke about the femi-facist Family Court, where the accused are scarcely allowed to answer the allegations against them. He said many are accused, tried, convicted and sentenced in their absence. He spoke of how they are harassed by police, evicted from their homes, separated from their children without saying goodbye. He pointed out that if they try to contact their children they become criminals and are locked in jail.

18.10 Dads Army 2000 banner got 22 seconds coverage on TV3 news, repeated at end of broadcast.

Corespondent’s name withheld.

Fifth Men’s Centre AGM

The Men’s Centre North Shore AGM held on 8th Sept has elected a new Chairman. Jim Bailey, a facilitator of the Wednesday evening Shore Fathers’ support group, was the unanimous choice of the meeting, after previous chairman Mark Rowley stood down from the leadership role. Jim has a particular interest in mentoring fathers, and we look forward to his energy and enthusiasm creating new initiatives in this area.

The rest of the new committee is John Potter (secretary), Paul Wannop (treasurer), Mark Rowley (media spokesman), Frank Murray and Evan Player.

Due to the unavoidable absence of treasurer Paul Wannop, the financial statements were presented by auditor Peter Manning. Peter commented that this year the accounts were the best presented ever in the history of the Men’s Centre (in fact it is the first time they have even been finished in time for an AGM!), and a vote of thanks was passed in recognition of Paul’s excellent work.

In summary, the accounts show that during the year ending 30th June 1999 we received an income of $31,056 (up from just $4,000 the previous year). Of this, $3,632 was from individual donations and subscriptions, with most of the balance made up of grants. Our year’s expenditure totalled $16,127, leaving us with a healthy surplus of $14,929.

A vote of thanks to funding assistant Christine Osbaldiston was recorded. The chairman’s and secretary’s reports are over the page. – J.P.

Chairman‘s Report to 1999 AGM

Let me start by thanking the Committee for the assistance they have given me over the past year. In particular, the contribution of John Potter has been outstanding, both for his general secretarial work, and for his editing of MENZ Issues, our monthly newsletter.

Among the noteworthy events: Several months ago it was decided to increase our general meetings from monthly to weekly, with a variety of men’s/fathers’ topics covered and with anyone and everyone welcome to attend. Guest presenters and coordinators were arranged and we are getting about 12 to 15 people turning up each Monday night at the Northcote Community Centre.

One of the consequences of this, however, was the realisation that it was stretching our manpower and other resources rather thinly, and with great regret we decided to bring an end to the Monthly Community Access radio programme, The Men’s Hour, which we had run most successfully, never missing a scheduled night in two years.

One activity of the Men’s Centre that has gone from strength to strength has been the monthly publishing of MENZ Issues, which, with a New Zealand-wide circulation of up to 700 copies, is as far as I know the only publication in the country consistently challenging the anti-male and anti-father rhetoric.

The funding situation has improved, at least for the immediate future, and for this great credit must go to Christine Osbaldiston who brought a wealth of ideas, contacts and a thorough professionalism to the task. John and Peter Manning also battled manfully and productively in this area. Thanks are due also to Chuck Bird for his help with photo-copying. Our website has steadily expanded and for this thanks are due to Paul Stewart and John. Legal assistance from lawyers Rod Hooker, Nicholas Wintour and John Corby and help on psychological matters from clinical psychologist John Groom have also been much appreciated.

Links with other organisations throughout the country were strengthened throughout the year, especially with groups such as Mensline, Men in Change and the Father and Child Trusts being set up in various centres. The large Wellington conference in mid-April on fathering was attended by six members of MCNS, a stall was manned and many useful contacts were made and friendships developed.

Much has been achieved, too much still remains to be done. The bad-mouthing and cheap put-downs of males intensifies. Three Irishmen recently wrote to a Dublin paper with the following sentiments, and I pass them on to show how universal the gender divisiveness has become:

Feminists should stop complaining

After more than 30 years of feminism, during which we have seen the introduction of feminist equality legislation, the creation of a feminist family law system and an expanding state financed feminist academic propaganda machine, it seems they are complaining more than ever.

Thirty years ago women did experience genuine inequalities, which have been largely resolved. In the course of dealing with this genuine agenda a massive women’s equality industry was created which should have been declared redundant years ago. Resolving some genuine social inequalities has created a monster – feminism has become a tyranny…..An ideology that promotes human rights, civil rights and equality for half of the human race and excludes the other half is inherently corrupt and dysfunctional.

To sustain the women’s equality industry the myth of women’s oppression must be perpetuated. This involves the unfair and dishonest demonisation of men and the exclusion of men’s organisations from public debate and policy making on social issues. The result is severe discrimination against men in situations where the interests of men and women are in conflict, particularly in the family law system.

Until men have an equal right to articulate their life experiences and pursue the men’s agenda we will never have true equality or social justice.

This same letter could be written from Sydney, London, Ottawa, Washington or Wellington, appropriate in every detail. If anything, matters are worse here for men in general and fathers in particular, since in addition to having a Ministry for Women’s Affairs, we have an Office of the Commissioner for Children that has been captured by feminists, and a governmental policy called Gender Analysis that scrutinises all proposed legislation for its possible impact on women.

The Departments of Health, Education, Justice, and Social Welfare are firmly in the hands of politically correct bureaucrats and feminists, and even the Education Review Office has at last acknowledged the plight of boys in our education system. The media and journalistic integrity are strangers in most cases when it comes to the treatment of gender issues, the universities and other tertiary institutions are increasingly PC and male-unfriendly, while the legal system and the Family Courts by their actions every day trample on fathers’ rights, destroying families and lives.

In this context, it is a sad commentary on our society that not only have groups such as ours had great difficulty raising money, but that feminist activists have tried to intervene with funding agencies to prevent that funding.

To repeat, so much has been done, so much has yet to be achieved.

Mark Rowley

Chairman 1997 – 99

Secretary‘s Report to 1999 AGM

I’m pleased to be able to announce that Men’s Centre North Shore has made it to five years old, and that overall, the organisation is in remarkably good shape. We have certainly travelled over a rocky road at times, and it seems likely the uncharted territory up ahead will similarly have plenty of rough patches. At times I know all of us undergo a ‘crisis of faith’, when the challenges we face just seem too enormous to tackle. For example, I find the personal attacks I receive stressful when I start to think that perhaps I am a liability to the men’s movement on account of being such an easy target.

Balancing out the negativity is the fact that Men’s Centre and I personally get a lot of continual support from people who appreciate the importance of our work. As the number of our supporters continues to grow, our ability to offer sustainable services to men and their families in our community increases. If funding bodies were to consider the cost-effectiveness of the programmes they pay for, I believe we would score highly. We have had to learn to be discrete about where our funding comes from, but thankfully, the desperate financial crisis of 1998 appears to be firmly in the past. Having said that, donations are always greatly appreciated because most of what we receive is tagged for welfare services or education, which means our basic operating expenses are still mostly financed by private supporters.

The Men’s Centre management has mostly worked extremely well together under Mark’s chairmanship, and I am greatly relieved that he is prepared to stay on the committee so that we can continue to benefit from his experience and depth of knowledge. His ability to handle sometimes hostile media enquiries without getting rattled has served us in good stead on a number of occasions. Regretfully, our longest serving committee member Peter Manning is resigning from the executive this year, although I am glad to hear he intends to stay active in his support for the Centre. Every time Peter has had a letter or article published in the Herald we pick up a couple of new members, so it is to be hoped that he will be inspired to put pen to paper again in the future. Warren Heap mentions in his letter of resignation that he enjoyed his year on the committee, and learnt much. I am sure that like myself, most of the other members would have had a similar experience, and Mark should take much of the credit for this state of affairs, which the minutes reveal has not always been enjoyed by previous Men’s Centre committees.

Outside of the committee, we are building a steadily growing team of dedicated men and women who voluntarily take on specific jobs to assist with the practical running of the Centre. This group of active, involved members is vitally necessary to the achievement of our objectives, as we currently have no plans (or funding!) to employ paid staff. As the public profile of Men’s Centre North Shore has increased, so has the workload, and my personal challenge for the next year is to become even more ruthless about avoiding new jobs that eat up the time I need to do the important stuff. We welcome people with good ideas, and we can provide moral, logistical and even financial help to members who want to set up services for men. What the committee members simply can’t supply is man-hours, so ideas without a commitment to action are going to fall by the wayside, no matter how good they might sound.

At last Monday night’s meeting John Groom remarked that males have received a lot of bad press lately, and that marketing masculinity is a daunting prospect. It seems unlikely that another war will come along requiring cannon fodder, in which case the image of powerful men would be rapidly rehabilitated from necessity. A range of masculinities appropriate for the next millennium need to be developed urgently, and I believe that this is a challenge that should be rightly undertaken by men. While most men are happy to leave the construction of masculinity up to advertising agencies selling us products like beer or motor vehicles, others of us are well aware that the radical feminists have their own ideas and plans for re-creating men in their own politically correct image. Personally, I find the prospect of masculinity being constructed by small groups of people in Women’s Studies Departments, or the Ministry of Woman’s affairs rather ludicrous. However, it’s clear that there are a few men who not only embrace this emasculating ideology, but even become zealous in their efforts to ‘re-educate’ their fellows.

We have a long way to go. Although the wheels are starting to fall off the radical feminist juggernaught at last, it has a lot of momentum, and the potential to do a lot more damage before it can be brought to a halt. In the immediate future however, it is obvious that although there are huge gaps in the provision of social services for men, most of the potentially available funds will be used to build and operate new prisons. In the foreseeable future, the successful establishment of volunteer organisations like the Men’s Centre is the best hope that at least some support will be available for men when the chips are down.

The number of new men’s and fathers’ groups that have formed around the country in the last couple of years is clear evidence to us that we are part of a genuine grassroots movement. The day is in sight when a critical mass will be reached and the politicians will be forced to act to undo the damage of recent years. Fewer and fewer New Zealanders are prepared to buy the radical feminist line that men are all dangerous, violent brutes who deserve to be treated like second class citizens. I am convinced that the vast majority of us believe that men and women should be treated equally. Over the next decade, it is to be hoped the radical feminists and their chivalrous patriarchal allies will find themselves increasingly isolated, despite their ability to exercise power and control over the rest of us.

John Potter

Paul grieving.jpg (15219 bytes) "I’m Grieving for my Kids" – NHFVPP protest.

Father’s Day Protests in Wellington

To emphasise Father’s Day, A FUTURE and Mana Men’s Rights Group staged protests outside the Wellington and the Porirua Family Courts. The protests were centred on the difficulty the Family Court has in ensuring that children have realistic contact with their fathers. Placards read:

‘Your Honours Give us back our Dads’

And:

‘There’s no Fathers’ Day in the Family Court’

The protests showed (in terms of signatures for the Separated Father’s Support Trust petition) that most people know someone that has been adversely affected and that there is a much greater level of dissatisfaction with the family Court than we had realised. Robert Murray, organiser of A FUTURE said they have pretty much decided to raise the issue of Equal Joint Physical Custody at every election meeting they can attend in Wellington.

Contact A FUTURE at:

PO Box 14237, Kilbirnie, Wellington.

rmurray@clear.net.nz

ACT Leader and Wellington Central MP Richard Prebble said the demonstrations by father’s groups in Wellington and Porirua indicated a need for a look at whether changes needed to be made in family law.

"The family is the cornerstone of our society, and fathers have an important role to play. We are seeing the devastating effects of fatherless families in our social welfare and crime statistics. If our family law is preventing fathers from having contact with their children, then we need to look at the situation."

Mr Prebble said he had received complaints about one parent being able to gain a non-violence order without the court hearing from the other party, the low threshold for testing of evidence in the Family Court; difficulties experienced by custodial parents in receiving support payments from liable parents; and difficulties experienced by non-custodial parents in gaining access to their children. He said the increasing amount of legal aid spent on family court cases was also of concern.

Protest at Secret North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project Meeting

On 2nd Sept, Dad’s Army picketed the Living Without Violence course provider on the North Shore.

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Signs read:

  • North Shore Encouragement of Women’s Violence Centre
  • Secret Meeting Right Here – Femi-Facists Only
  • Women’s lies become men’s counselling sessions

11.00 Arrived at North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project office.

11.15 Put up signs.

11.20 Counsellor came out and questioned us about what our motives were. Also he asked our names. These were not given. Motives were not given, the signs said it all. We displayed our banners to passing motorists. The guys honked.

11.45 A number of people started arriving for the monthly networking meeting. One lady came and said she disagreed with our protest.

12.00 One woman said that she had been abused and it had affected the rest of her life.

12.30 Just as we were about to leave the site, a community constable arrived to join the meeting.

To join Dad’s Army 2000, call ‘General Justice’ on (09) 815 0307

MATCH (Men And Their Children)

In the middle of August our family travelled to Mt Manganui, where we met up with Darrell Carlin. About 8 months ago he formed MATCH (Men And Their CHildren), and they now have 37 members, mostly solo dads. They have had some meetings, which may become regular in a few months time.

Darrell is very committed to changing family law so that shared custody is the default position. He runs his own public relations firm, and is keen to use his skills, infrastructure and contacts to contribute to the cause.

His idea is to start with an appeal called "a thousand good men", which would ask as many men as possible to donate $100, without necessarily expecting much. If around a thousand men actually did this there would be the funding for a major media campaign to generate support for the idea of children’s right to a meaningful relationship with their fathers.

He is currently developing a logo as the symbol of the campaign and plans to manufacture badges so that people can demonstrate support. He says to make a PR campaign work, groups all over the country need to agree on a basic message and repeat it constantly.

ContactMen and their Children at: PO Box 14063 Tauranga, Tel: (07)571 4203, Fax (07)578 4724

Patriarchy is Not the Cause of Violence

During August 99, a long series of articles on violence in New Zealand ran in the NZ Herald. While readers learned that the ‘cost’ of domestic violence in this country is now over $1 billion, they didn’t get much of an insight into why the problem seems to get bigger and more intractable in direct relation to the funding available to the professionals currently running the intervention industry.

The notable exception was one story by Jan Corbett on the 21st titled: "Women lash out more readily: crime stats." She reported that female violence has received little international academic attention, except for in Canada. She quotes from Patricia Pearson’s excellent book ‘When She Was Bad: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence’ the fact that young Canadian women now account for 24 per cent of violent offences in their age group.

Corbett didn’t mention another Canadian study reported recently by Brad Evenson and Carol Milstone in the National Post, which deals a major blow to the image of the male as the traditional domestic aggressor. 67% of women questioned said they started severe conflicts! According to the study, "Women are just as violent to their spouses as men, and women are almost three times more likely to initiate violence in a relationship."

Marilyn Kwong, the Simon Fraser University researcher who led this study is quoted as saying: "Our society seems to harbour an implicit acceptance of women’s violence as relatively harmless. Furthermore, the failure to acknowledge the possibility of women’s violence ….. jeopardises the credibility of all theory and research directed toward ending violence against women."

The only indication that there might be some local opposition to the politically correct view was on the 26th August, in a story by Andrew Stone headlined: "Billion-dollar cost burdens society."

He discussed the Coopers & Lybrand study led by economist Suzanne Snively, which reported that family violence in New Zealand costs a minimum of $1.2 billion. Snively says it is "a realistic if conservative indicator of the true costs of family violence."

The article then devotes a few words to presenting an alternative viewpoint:

"The number has been accepted by the Government and other researchers in the field, though Massey University economist Stuart Birks has challenged the report’s conclusions. He believes a feminist agenda lies behind some violence research in New Zealand."

[See here for Stuart Birks’ critique of Snively’s study]

This was immediately followed by a rebuttal from ex-refuge worker Brenda Pilott, who counters that: "We could have produced a report which used speculative data to get some shocking numbers. But we wanted a robust conclusion which we could stand behind."

On the 28th August 1999, the Herald summed up the series on violence in an editorial: titled "Don’t look for easy answers." The writer concludes:

"Solutions to social problems like violence do not come as neat and satisfying rewards for earnest investigation. Those who seize on a single cause – poverty, racism, cultural predisposition, alcohol – are confronted by too many exceptions to the rule."

wpe10.jpg (5435 bytes) Photo: Women’s Violence- Face Up To It! NHFVPP protest.

The majority of literature on domestic violence in the possession of Men’s Centre North Shore makes a point of excluding the possible ’causes’ mentioned by the Herald. However, it happens there is a ‘single cause’, unmentioned in the editorial, which is consistently held up as the origin of societal violence, and that is the ‘Patriarchy’. On the North Shore for example, all workers in the field of domestic violence who wish to participate in government funded networking meetings are required to sign documents pledging their adherence to feminist doctrine. Furthermore, processes are in place to exclude any individual or organisation who questions the politically correct viewpoint.

Twenty years ago, radical feminist writers were far more up-front about their beliefs and objectives than they are today, as illustrated by the example below from the NZ book ‘He said he loved me really – experiences at a Women’s Refuge,’ by Bronwyn Banks, Joy Florence & Jenny Ruth (1979).

"FEMINISM: aims to destroy patriarchy. It is the only ideology that will bring about universal freedom because the oppression of women is the primary oppression on which all other forms of oppression, eg racism and classism, are based."

"A man beating his wife is not a personal problem. It is a political act. It is a male asserting dominance over female, a manifestation of the slave status of all women in New Zealand and on this planet. It is a demonstration of power by all men over all women. All women are vulnerable to attack, every woman who lives with a man is especially so. Marriage remains the most effective patriarchal instrument for keeping women in bondage."

"Violence to women is not abnormal or an aberration of a few sick men. It is an integral part of the system. The battering of women is necessary under a patriarchal system in order to maintain that system."

The book includes a testimonial from a satisfied ‘client’:

"Halfway House has been a wonderful experience for me and a haven. My kids are happy too. Hardly mention daddy."

Twenty years later, many of the first wave of Woman’s Refuge activists are in powerful positions inside government agencies, professional organisations contracting services to the government and academic institutions indoctrinating future cadres of zealous social engineers. The same theoretical underpinning of social policy regarding violence is still evident today in statements such as the one repeatedly mentioned in ‘Family Violence: Guidelines for Developing Protocols’, issued by the NZ Health Dept. in Sept.1997.

"Family violence is a powerful tool in maintaining and compounding social, cultural, political and economic inequality between men and women."

The Herald ‘Dialogue’ column 25th August, was written by Auckland University Dept of Psychology research associate Alison Towns, a frequent contributor to the discussion of family violence. She says:

"As a feminist, my concern is with fairness, justice and equity for women."

This statement clearly illustrates the philosophical gulf between modern feminism and that of organisations such as Men’s Centre North Shore, which is committed to the principle of equality for all people, regardless of their gender. Towns continues:

"If male strength or power is valued as the defining feature of masculinity, violence may be used to firmly place a man within that male culture. Real or imagined affronts to one’s masculinity or control may then bring a violent response. If men are seen as legitimately dominant and entitled to forgo, for example, domestic and parental duties, women are expected to accept their authority and transgressions may be punished by some men through violence. His violence becomes the means by which the women is controlled and his masculinity articulated."

Towns addresses the high prevalence of female violence by invoking the ‘abuse excuse’. She claims women hit to precipitate the violence that they "know is coming". They hit out of distress and frustration, or to protect their children. Men on the other hand, use violence or the threat of violence, to exercise power and control. To support her case, she quotes an American ‘expert’ who in 20 years of clinical practice has never seen a battered man.

The 28th August Herald editorial went on to make the suggestion that: "Families seem to be the primary breeding ground for violence, as for much else. Children in households ruled by the terror of violence do not always grow up to inflict the same rule on others, but it happens often enough to be a recurring theme in cases of domestic abuse and violent crime generally. The most effective antidote to a violent society is probably a good means of monitoring children born into circumstances where the dangers are greatest."

Perhaps families are the primary breeding ground for violence, but they are also the primary breeding ground for peaceful, responsible, well-adjusted adults. Of course we need to intervene in situations where any child (or adult) is clearly in danger, but as yet our methods of determining danger are far from foolproof, as the Herald stories graphically illustrate.

The current reality for hundreds of New Zealand families is that domestic problems get infinitely worse when the ‘monitors’ turn out to be gender warriors bent on destroying the patriarchal society, and the institution of marriage. The Listener (12th Aug 95), reported that almost a quarter of the women surveyed in the Hamilton Abuse Intervention Pilot Project criticised their call-out advocates, drawn from a pool of refuge workers, for being unprofessional, immature, incompetent or unduly anti-men.

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DO CHILDREN HAVE A RIGHT TO THEIR REAL FATHER? asks the protester. On the pole the signs read:

  • WHERE DO VIOLENT WOMEN GO FOR COUNSELLING?
  • WOMEN ARE NEVER VIOLENT! OK?
  • mEN TREATED LIKE CRIMINALS HERE
  • SUB HUMAN MEN NO CIVIL RIGHTS OK?

On 1st of September, Justice Minister, Tony Ryall, released advice from the Ministry of Justice about statistics produced by the British Home Office indicating that levels of violent offending in New Zealand are among the highest in the developed world. The Ministry pointed out that NZ statistics can be misleading if compared to other countries. Mr Ryall said:

"In fact since 1995 the rate of recorded violent offending (that is the number of recorded violent offences per head of population) has actually been falling in line with overall crime rates. While violence is still too high the trend is right."

Despite Mr Ryall’s optimism, violence in our society will not be adequately addressed until we remove the distorting influence of gender politics. Workers with anti-male attitudes and practices grounded in their own personal dysfunction should not be involved in ‘helping’ fragile and vulnerable families, and in the future service providers will have to develop processes for weeding these unsuitable people out.

Hopefully, the apparent trend will accelerate as individuals and agencies move beyond the simplistic belief that domestic violence can be understood as a vast patriarchal conspiracy to oppress women.

J.P.

History of Men’s Centre North Shore

Culled mostly from the minutes kept by various secretaries over the years, the following snippets will give some idea of the trials and tribulations involved in establishing the Men’s Centre North Shore, and the sometimes turbulent relationships with other local organisations.

1993

The vision. In early 1993, North Shore resident Michael McCarthy proposed a "community type house available for men to access support." He suggested a list of possible skills which could be taught, including positive parenting, relating, and communication, and that low-cost, effective one-to-one counselling should be offered. He envisaged the Centre being of interest to "solo fathers, house-husbands, and men in general who wish to make positive changes in their relationship with others."

1994

March 9th 1994

First meeting of the working party to set up the Men’s Centre North Shore was held at the Birkenhead Community Facilities Trust office, convened by co-ordinator Jill Nerhney. Eight men attended, including Bill Boyle (Men In Change) and Reese Helmondollar (Living Without Violence).

March 28th 1994 [Chelsea Centre]

Second meeting of the working party. Included Craig Davis from Shore Fathers. This meeting discussed the first management plan, and drafted the first set of goals for the organisation.

The Men’s Centre should be culturally appropriate.

To provide a centre and administrative structure.

To programme resources and services, and to ensure these are client driven. Also to prepare well-researched submissions on matters affecting men, and to raise public awareness on issues.

To prepare a newsletter.

To investigate the feasibility of a phone line support/information service.

April 10th 1994 [Birkenhead Community Facilities Trust office]

The third working party meeting discussed the importance of working under the umbrella of BCFT to validate Men’s Centre existence. It was also recognised that BCFT had been a tremendous support to this initiative, special thanks to Jill.

May 1st 1994 [Highbury House]

First general meeting held to elect committee. Michael McCarthy welcomed everyone. Jill Nerheny took the chair. Paul Corse-Scott elected chairperson (sic), nominated by Craig. John Minter elected v/chairperson (sic). Bill Boyle secretary, Tony Lipanovic, treasurer. Committee: Craig Davis, Keith Cranswick, David Simperingham, Andrew Shaw.

May 4th 1994 [BCFT office]

The first management committee meeting decided to employ Michael McCarthy as Project Director for the Men’s Centre North Shore. Discussion took place on funding areas, Jill suggested that applications should all be handled immediately and sent out.

May 30th 1994 [BCFT office]

Letter of appointment as Director of Men’s Centre North Shore to Michael McCarthy.

Funding subcommittee formed: Michael, Tony, John and Jill.

June 6th 1994 [BCFT office]

Discussed Job Description for Project Director position. Regarding committee members training, it was decided to seek a volunteer to give guidance on operating committee on consensus.

June 27th. 1994 [BCFT office]

Dale Hunter organised to run session on consensus in meetings.

July 24th 1994 [Highbury House]

Approved a motion that Jill be granted speaking rights. She outlined status of funding applications. These need fact sheets detailing projected work, client base and programmes. Jill required direction from committee as to how to proceed.

August 7th 1994 [BCFT office]

Committee meeting could not proceed due to low turnout. Chairman is recorded as asking:

"Are we ready to go public?"

August 13th 1994 [BCFT office]

Public Meeting organised, invitations sent out, RSPV to Jill.

Sept 9th 1994

Men’s Centre North Shore registered as an Incorporated Society.

First Public Meeting

[Chelsea Centre]

Facilitator / Mediator Les Grey. Supportive feedback received and recorded from 13 people attending

wpe12.jpg (5534 bytes) First Men’s Centre Brochure

Sept 25th 1994 [BCFT office]

Jill reported a call from one of the major community funding organisations stating that they would probably fund set up costs, but no salaries. The caller said there was negative feedback on Men’s Centre from other community groups in the area. He acknowledged that this was the first men’s centre in NZ and that "he wanted it to be right."

[It is important to note that this "negative feedback" represented blatantly gender-biased opposition to the principle of community funding benefiting men – at this point in time the Men’s Centre North Shore had made no public statements, or done anything other than organise a low-key public meeting.-JP]

1995

January 1995

Grants received from Birkenhead Licencing Trust ($500), Lotteries Board ($5,000), COGS ($15,000), and CLANZ ($1076). The firm Consultus also offered $10,000 of their services for Public Relations and promotion of Men’s Centre.

January 22nd 1995 [2 Rodney Rd]

Committee meeting at first Men’s Centre office, supplied by North Shore City Council and organised by Jill. Office shared with the PHAB (Physically Handicapped and Able-Bodied) Centre.

April 1995

First Men’s Centre North Shore newsletter produced by Paul Corse-Scott.

wpe14.jpg (8660 bytes)

April 20th 1995

Official Opening of Men’s Centre North Shore, held at RSA hall Takapuna. Over 60 men and women attended. After speeches from our patrons Sir Paul Reeves, Eion Scarrow, and Graeme Dingle, committee members Bill Boyle and Tony Lipanovic explained what the organisation was about. This was followed by a sumptuous catered supper, the likes of which has never been seen again at Men’s Centre functions.

June 18th 1995 [2 Rodney Rd]

Martin Lewis appointed as co-ordinator.

August 31st 1995 [2 Rodney Rd]

First Annual General Meeting. Committee: Paul, Bill, Tony, David, Andrew, Alan, Martin plus 14 other members, including Jill Nerheny, John Potter, Chuck Bird, Eric Morgan, and Shore Fathers’ representatives Craig Davis, John Brocas, Stuart Hutchins, Harry King)

Paul Corse-Scott’s chairmanship survived a challenge by John Brocas who was elected as secretary with Stuart Hutchins treasurer. New committee Craig, Harry, Eric Morgan, Andrew, Tony, David, Chuck.

The AGM was advised that considerable thanks was due to Jill for her persistence and foresight in getting the Centre established. A vote of appreciation was acknowledged by applause from those present.

Sept 28th 1995 [2 Rodney Rd]

A proposal was put by Martin that Shore Fathers be accepted as an umbrella’d focus group. Martin reported that he had written a letter of support for Shore Fathers in response to an urgent request, and felt it should be formalised. Committee agreed that they would consider a written proposal from Shore Fathers.

Oct 18th 1995

First Public Forum held.

27 people attended including six women. Focus group co-ordinators spoke about future plans.

Oct 19th 1995 [2 Rodney Rd]

Paul Corse-Scott resigned as Chairman. David Steele elected.

Craig tabled letter formally requesting affiliation. He discussed the advantages for both parties. He suggested the Men’s Centre could be involved in Shore Father’s holiday programmes.

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An early Shore Father’s brochure produced by Men’s Centre.

Oct 26th 1995

Peter Manning appointed as auditor.

Nov 9th 1995 [2 Rodney Rd]

Craig reported that Shore Fathers meetings currently attracting 5 – 15 men from a list of about 30. He is planning to run workshops on Family Law, Custody etc. in 1996. He is in contact with Lone Fathers in Australia.

Craig also reported that statistics show 50/50 male/female cause of domestic violence. The media focus group decided to address domestic violence and produced press release.

Letter from Chuck received by committee, challenging the continued promotion of Reese Helmondollar (Living Without Violence). In a phone conversation, Reese insisted to Chuck that over 90% of domestic violence is initiated by men, a piece of radical feminist dogma unsupported by the scientific literature.

A long discussion ensued. Chuck said Jill should not be allowed to interfere with Men’s Centre operation. Craig pointed out centre’s history and Jill’s involvement. MC a pilot scheme. Martin said that Jill only advised and that her advice had always been valuable. It had never been in conflict with directions received from committee. Craig said that Jill had been co-opted onto committee as an advisor by the previous committee. She is a valuable resource and not in it for herself.

November 1995

First publication of MENZ Issues, edited by Martin Lewis. He encouraged readers to join one of the six focus groups that had been formed:

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Media

Support Groups

Awareness Groups

Young Men

Health

Shore Fathers

In an article headed "The Pitfall", Martin wrote:

"As we group together in our pain and anger to discover ourselves we are faced with a universal trap. One which many before us have fallen prey to. Can we learn from their mistakes and avoid it? Human nature being what it is we seek the alliance of those around us. As a group forms with a common experience we tend to support one another in validating the experience. Where the commonality is that of painful experience of women and where this is not yet forgiven, there is a danger of misogyny. A danger of finding some target outside the group to blame and shame. This is what seems to have happened with gender feminists.

This misandry is causing innocent men and society increasing pain. This is one of many reasons that the Centre has come into existence. To fall into the same trap and become gender masculists is not a solution but a continuation of the spiral toward gender war. Our intention is to actively avoid this pitfall; to become equity masculists; to ultimately join with equity feminists in promoting a celebration of individual strengths and differences. Not to apologise for our masculinity but to define and choose it for ourselves and then to celebrate it. To celebrate it and femininity in the mutual support and company of women."

December 3rd 1995

After Men’s Centre sent out a press release drawing attention to violence perpetrated by women, local newspapers responded by publicizing feminist attacks under headlines like "Martin cops female fury" and "Violence debate sparks local battle between the sexes." The press release had drawn attention to the large number of scientific studied which consistently show that women initiate intimate violence as often as men. It also pointed out that many men were reluctant to admit they were being abused, because they feared they would not be treated sympathetically.

Chris Coppersmith, speaking on behalf of the North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project, said that Martin’s figures were "wrong", and that many (unnamed) studies prove it. She said that NZ police do not even collect statistics on assaults by females on males because the numbers are too low to justify counting.

December 7th 1995 [2 Rodney Rd]

Martin reported on a meeting of the North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project, (Men’s Centre was a member at that time). The meeting was "heated", and it was claimed that Men’s Centre public relations material was "anti-women". Martin was instructed to return and "educate" Men’s Centre members.

1996

January 9th 1996 [Fickling Convention Centre, Three Kings]

Organised by North Health to promote their discussion document The Health of Men. Several Men’s Centre members attended, and contributed to debate.

January 15th 1996 [Senior Citizen’s Hall, Northcote]

Second Public Forum, Speakers were Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith (false allegations of sexual abuse) and Reese Helmondollar (domestic violence). Reese’s obviously pro-feminist views came under considerable attack from the audience.

Feburary 1st 1996 [2 Rodney Rd]

Martin & Men’s Centre ‘fired’ from North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project because our "objectives are in conflict with theirs". Martin to attempt organisation of meeting with them to discuss.

March 7th 1996 [Zion Hill Church hall]

Third Public Forum. John Fraser from North Health spoke on the Health of Men report.

April 11th 1996 [2 Rodney Rd]

Grant money almost all used up. Financial crisis looms.

April 17th 1996 [Zion Hill Church hall]

Fourth Public Forum, discussion on The Health of Men report. Speaker: Dr John Raeburn.

wpe17.jpg (11182 bytes) John Potter, Martin Lewis, Bob Mann at the Ernie Mays Rd rooms

May 31st 1996 [Ernie Mays Rd]

Move to new Men’s Centre premises, (photo above) supplied by North Shore City Council, conveniently located in Ernie Mays Rd outside the Northcote Library.

August 1st 1996 Zion Hill Church hall

Second AGM. Fifteen members attended. New committee elected: David Steele, John Brocas, Mark Rowley, Peter Manning, John Potter, Robert Mann.

Mark reported that the Men’s Health Focus group had been meeting regularly since the two public forums on men’s health, and that a Men’s Health Day was being organised for September.

Peter reported that the media focus group was meeting fortnightly, had issued a press release on the Health of Men report, and had sent letters to newspapers and magazines

Craig reported that Shore Fathers had experienced enormous growth and are now meeting twice a week. He said they have developed good rapport with Police, Family Courts, parts of the Legal Profession, referral agencies, and particularly the Commission for Children.

Sept 21st [Glenfield Community Centre]

Men’s Health Day. Over 70 men attended a day-long series of presentations by fifteen health educators. Good publicity in the NZ Herald, who sent a reporter and photographer. The expenses of $1200 were almost covered by $1000 received in sponsorship and donations.

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Oct 31st 1996 [Ernie Mays Rd]

Report on meeting at Men’s Centre 24th Oct with 3 lawyers, Mark, Martin, John B. representing MC and Craig representing Shore Fathers.

Planned joint management meeting with Shore Fathers cancelled as their three committee members could not rendezvous at the same time.

1997

Monthly meetings held for members every third Monday.

July 14th

Men’s Hour radio show first broadcast on Access Community Radio, thanks to the inspiration of John Jones-Parry.

Men’s Centre Website started, hosted by supporters Web InterNet.

July 21st 1997 [Ernie Mays Rd]

Visit by Grant Gillon, former Alliance Whip and list Member of Parliament, who lives in and represents the North Shore. He showed considerable interest in the activities of Men’s Centre North Shore, and a long and useful discussion ensued.

August 18th 1997 [Ernie Mays Rd]

Third AGM 21 members attended. Mark re-elected unopposed, John Potter elected secretary.

Criticism was made that MC seems to have moved away from original objectives of offering support and direct services to men. Concern was expressed that an activist stance may prejudice future funding opportunities, and it was suggested that we need to gain a track record of community assistance. Craig Davis pointed out the importance of developing a close working relationship with the funding providers by attending regular networking meetings. He talked about the enormous amount of time taken to prepare applications which all have different formats, and his low success rate

October 1997

MENZ Issues becomes almost monthly under new editor John Potter. Bank account is less than $1,000, no future funding in the pipeline.

1998

January 28th 1998

Submission to Select Committee on the Social Security (Conjugal Status) Bill. We opposed the introduction of Battered Women Syndrome into legislation.

February 5th 1998

North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project announces that networking meetings are for members only. John Potter and wife Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith had been attending, without making any comment. Subsequently it turns out that we would have to sign a form stating we supported feminist principles, then appear before the committee to see if our attitude is acceptable.

Feburary 16th 1998

Separated Fathers Support Trust Men’s Refuge opened, with the assistance of Men’s Centre workers and their vehicles. MC also produced brochure for them.

April 1998

Due to lack of use, we were asked to move out of the Northcote rooms. Meetings were transferred to Onepoto Awhina (Northcote Community House), a far more comfortable venue 100m away.

September 26th 1998 [Manukau Institute of Technology]

Father’s Family & the Future conference attended by group of eight members of Men’s Centre North Shore, along with half-a-dozen Family Court Judges.

1999

April 14th 1998

Auckland University receives complaint about ‘Positive Partners, Strong Families’ course from Rape Crisis, Help Foundation and Safe Offender Programme.

wpe19.jpg (15290 bytes) ‘Jeremy’, Warren Heap, Chuck Bird at the Wellington Father’s celebration

April 17th [Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington]

Six Men’s Centre members attended the Father’s Family & the Future – Celebration Challenge & Change event. We set up a stall in the Wellington Town Hall on the public day, initiated the first national meeting of NZ fathers’ and men’s groups, and attended the Social Policy Forum.

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May 1999 [Onepoto Awhina]

First Positive Partners Strong Families couples communication and conflict resolution course begins.

July 1999 [Onepoto Awhina]

Information and Resource Seminars begin running weekly.

July 99 MENZ Issues included in "Father-Friendly List" mail-out to over 600 people by Jim Bailey, a facilitator of the Shore Father’s Wednesday night support group.

July 1999

North Harbour Family Violence Prevention Project bans Jim Bailey from meetings that he has been attending as the SF representative. They say he is "abusive", because he asked why they refuse to consider female violence.

8th Sept. 1999 [Onepoto Awhina]

Jim Bailey elected Chairman of Men’s Centre North Shore.

PASS (Prostate Awareness & Support Society) launch Prostate Awareness Week.

The Prostate Awareness and Support Society (PASS) hit the media with promotion for their first annual Prostate Awareness Week at the beginning of this month. The director of communication Barry Young told New Zealand GP that death rates from prostate cancer have been declining in the United States due to widespread screening and treatment. He said 2,481 NZ men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1995, which is 400 more that women with breast and cervical cancer put together. Young, a prostate cancer victim himself, told the Shore News that each year over 500 men died from it, which is almost as high as the road toll.

Ministry of Health medical adviser Colin Feek says that the screening issue is "controversial," and that they are watching and waiting for trials to be completed. He said compared to screening programmes for women’s breast cancer, there has been very little done on prostate cancer.

PASS has set up a 24hr freephone sponsored by the drug company Yamanouchi. They also sent out a brochure offering their services, some of which is reproduced here:

"One of the main goals of PASS is to educate men about prostate problems and prostate cancer in particular. We know that those diagnosed with prostate cancer have special needs. We know because ‘we have been there’. Men with prostate cancer have to make vitally important decisions about types of treatment. They may also have to make important choices and adjustments to enjoy a full life. To do this they need relevant and current information to help them make the decisions best for them.

It is not our role to give you medical advice, but we will guide you to the most appropriate information available. There are many different treatments for prostate disease and men need information about their choices so they can make decisions that are best for them.

Our role is to help those recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, and survivors of prostate cancer, to lead productive and fulfilled lives through shared counselling and discussions. Remember we know what you and those close to you are going through.

PASS also has a role to promote public awareness about prostate cancer. Too many men know too little about prostate cancer. Yet it is a fact that if diagnosed early enough prostate cancer can, in most cases be treated successfully.

If you have a family history of prostate cancer discuss with your doctor the option of having annual check-ups from the age of 40. All men should consider being checked for prostate cancer annually from the age of 50. Discuss this with your doctor. Ask for a PSA test. This is a simple blood test checking for levels of Prostate Specific Antigen. A higher level than normal does not mean you have prostate cancer. All it is saying is that your prostate may be having a problem that can then be checked out by your doctor or a urologist

Also have an annual DRE (digital rectal examination). This, combined with the PSA test could save your life. Remember the decision to be tested or not is yours. It is your body, your life."

wpe1C.jpg (4138 bytes)Please join us by phoning

0800 62 72 77

Or write to: PASS, 29 Clevedon Road, Papakura.

www.prostate.org.nz/

Political Meeting on Family Law Issues

Separated Fathers Support Trust are inviting all political parties to send a spokesperson on family law issues to our next meeting, which is at:

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Glenavon School,

340 Blockhouse Bay Road,

Mon 11th October 7:30 pm.

From the contact we have had with fathers, we found many are unhappy with the following:

Having to see their children at access centres while someone listens to every word they say to their child. They can not have a meaningful conversation let alone a relationship with their children. These cases often happen on unsubstantiated claims of abuse. Where the violence has been only between adults, no evidence that a child is at serious risk is required.

In a disproportionate number of contested custody cases, custody goes to the mother.

Fathers often lose child access after the mother moves out of the district.

The Court does not enforce access orders.

Child Support, unlike all other family law, does not make the welfare of the child paramount.

The Separated Fathers Support Trust proposes following changes to legislation:

Ex-parte orders should require substantive supporting evidence to demonstrate to the Court that they are necessary and appropriate.

Equal joint custody should be a starting point, unless there are special circumstances where a parent cannot share custody.

Supervised access should only be used in cases where it has been clearly demonstrated that there is a real risk to the child.

All orders for access, breached by the custodial parent should be immediately and consistently enforced.

The Child Support Act should be repealed and reasonable child support ought to be paid based on the personal circumstances of both parents.

Chuck Bird (Secretary). chuckb@quicksilver.net.nz

FREE Co-ordinator Resigns

Veteran family Law reform campaigner Darryl Ward has resigned from his position of Australasia Area Co-ordinator of FREE (Fathers Rights & Equality Exchange), an international fathers’ and children’s lobby group He announced his resignation on 25th Aug. after more than four years at the helm of the organisation’s Australasia branch, (and after ten years as an active family law reform campaigner), in order to concentrate his efforts on his recent appointment as the Mana candidate for ACT New Zealand in the forthcoming election.

"Times have changed, and we can be proud of our successes," he said. "A few years ago we were a lone voice in the wilderness. Now there are fathers’ and children’s groups cropping up across the country. Preferential Joint Custody is now a political issue, and we have successfully stopped the monopolisation of family issues by politically- correct brigands.

Whilst there is still much had work to be done before fathers have the same right as mothers to be real parents to their children, fathers at last have a voice that is being listened to and will not go unnoticed and will not go away.

I cannot deny some sadness in leaving the fathers’ movement after so long. However I am very happy that the movement is now being cradled by so many capable hands," he concluded.

Separated Fathers Meeting held in South Auckland

On September 1st, the Separated Father’s Support Trust held an information night in Mangere for men wanting to talk to the IRD or a Family Court lawyer. Small advertisements in the Herald and the local papers brought over 20 men from all over the city. Most of the questions were directed at the Child Support officials, and several men expressed dissatisfaction with the review process. The IRD staff promised to investigate one case further, and seem to be committed to improving the service delivered to their ‘clients’.

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