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Let our boys be boys, says Tamihere

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,General — JohnPotter @ 9:30 am Tue 14th September 2004

John Tamihere has again defended boys’ rights to be boys.

The Youth Affairs minister has attacked the media’s portrayal of boys as “problems” and society’s failure to recognise their differences.

He told the New Zealand Family Daycare Association conference in Rotorua last night: “We are told their behaviour needs to be controlled, managed or handled. It’s as if boys are ticking time bombs – it won’t be long before their latent criminal behaviour is unleashed on the unsuspecting public, or the testosterone surging through their bodies renders them incapable of any rational thought.”

Tamihere – whose “red-blooded Kiwi men” speech was seen as a ploy to win back the bloke vote – said that not recognising boys’ differences from girls’ came at a cost when boys were under-performing in educational areas.

“I want to make one thing clear – boys are not the problem. It’s time to stop blaming them.” He said most boys and young men could “deal with their hormones”.

“As a society, it’s time to show our boys we are proud of them and who they are. Let’s drop the blame mentality of the past. Let’s focus on their potential.

“For so long we have been blaming our young men – yet it is our behaviour they are reproducing.”

Following on from his red-blooded bloke speech when he attacked political correctness, saying heterosexual men needed to re-assert themselves, Tamihere reiterated the need for positive male role models.

“In a boy’s life, their father is often the most significant figure. Yet for many boys today, finding a male to look up to and seek guidance from is not an easy task.”

Tamihere said one in three boys lived apart from their fathers. A mere 18 per cent of primary teachers were men. The minister has long been a defender of men’s rights to be men. Last September he told the Sunday Star-Times that blokes shouldn’t be afraid to leave the toilet seat up or have a beer with mates at the pub.

He said too much suspicion was cast over men in matters such as marriage break-ups, child custody rights and allegations of impropriety.

“Basically, I’m sick of men having to apologise for having a penis,” he said last year. “Look at what goes on in the family court, that is a system that always presumes the man is guilty.”


  1. What bothers me about Johny (come lately – to mens movement) Tamihere is this. Despite all the soothing sounding pro – male words he’s spouting I don’t hear him mentioning anything specific policy-wise to better the lives of boys and men. Just sweet sounding but empty rhetoric. Meanwhile the socialist-feminist party he’s part of carried on turning a blind eye to the plight of males.
    I mean for instance he’s not saying we should have either have a ministry of men’s affais or scap the min of wim’s to balance things up; Or we need a comprehensive review of all health and social service systems to see why men’s health and longevity is lagging behind women’s; Or we need to aggressively recruit much more male primary teachers; Or we need a commission to look into ways to curb rampant fatherlessness.
    Just radiradirah, sick of being blamed because we have penises, leave the toilet seat up, radiradirah………
    And some folks herald him as the new voice for blokes.

    Comment by Stephen Gee — Tue 14th September 2004 @ 3:51 pm

  2. Yes – John T does appear to be avoiding the issue and not putting action to his words. I note as Minister of Youth Affairs, his responsiblity covers people up to 24 years of age. Many males become a man well before 24 yrs – so he does have responsibility to address this. I am sorry to say, but his lack of action creates the image of a weak person afraid of the Labour women.

    Comment by Nik — Wed 15th September 2004 @ 9:26 am

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