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Christchurch Men’s Summit in the Media

Filed under: General — JohnPotter @ 2:17 pm Mon 8th August 2005

Some items in the media about the Christchurch Men’s Issues Summit.

In Father & Child Magazine Issue 30, Winter 2005 Page 18:

Another forum touts the message that men are hard done by. It has all the ingredients of another expensive failure, writes Harald BreidingBuss.

Now, eight years later, we have had a ‘Men’s Forum’. This time around the event started in Auckland, and is now in the process of being exported to Christchurch as well. Instead of the Governor General (which at the moment is female) the organisers picked John Tamihere as their high profile person. Unwittingly, choosing a ‘yesterday’s man’ like Tamihere is symptomatic for the rest of the lineup, which almost entirely consists of the recycled remnants of a national fathers committee I once tried to create: the “NZ Father & Child Society”.

That was also in 1998, and I guess it is telling that in those seven intervening years this group has failed to bring any new faces to the fore. Although I created it to support a national approach for developing on the ground services for fathers, the resulting group never wanted to go there. Like ‘Fathering the Future’ they saw the way forward in pestering the media with opinions rather than being there for dads when they are needed. Without any work going into building up the base, no new people could emerge, and, like ‘Fathering the Future’ the group was quickly heading for either oblivion or insignificance.

Nevertheless, two of the speakers in the upcoming Christchurch Forum chose to use ‘NZ Father & Child Society’ in identifying their credentials, although they have no connection with the work linked to the name Father & Child, such as this magazine, our teen dads project or our work in the area of childbirth.

Ironically, all of the speakers at the forum are worth listening to. But while once more the political world, and political correctness, will be slammed for neglecting men, and changes will be called for, no group or organisation emerges that could actually institute such change.

And so we will have another few days, perhaps a couple of weeks, where organisers and/or speakers can bask in the glory of being quoted in the media before patting each other on the back for a job well done and going back to business as usual.

Frankly, who needs it?

After the summit:

Christchurch think tank issues call to address issue of gender balance before it swings in the opposite direction

Major social problems are being forecast, as women increasingly break through the career glass ceiling and take on top jobs.

A Men’s Issues summit in Christchurch has heard nearly 60 percent of tertiary students are now women.

Massey University’s Centre for Public Policy Evaluation director Stuart Birks says in two decades women in senior management positions could outnumber men.

Under the heading: Experts reject theory of male early-life crisis , Keri Welham notes:

New Zealand experts have dismissed a British study that claims men are more likely to suffer an early-life crisis than the traditional mid-life variety.

Then a passing mention of the Men’s Issues Summit:

The pressures facing men were canvassed at a summit in Christchurch on Friday. Featuring outspoken Labour MP John Tamihere, the summit looked at issues such as violence and boys lagging behind girls in education.

Rex McCann, director of an Auckland-based support group, Essentially Men, told The Press the supposed new early-life crisis phenomenon would not replace the “mid-life transition”, a recognised identity crisis that hits men in their 40s.

“You can’t have an identity crisis until you’ve got your identity formed,” he said.


  1. Some random thoughts on the recent Men’s summit in Christchurch.
    Despite all the hyperbole after the first summit in Auckland NZ men still have huge catch up to do to move out of second class status vis a vis NZ women. We still don’t have anywhere near NZ womenfolks rights and privileges and worse still currently seem to lack the leadership to change this. Calling it a crisis of men’s spirit did allot to jolt Mr and Ms public to rally in support of guys didn’t it.?
    My god. The evidence is in – Fathers for Justice can achieve more in a week than the ‘leaders’ of the Men’s Movement in NZ can achieve over decades. Still I suppose someone must be listening to thier year after year whining as thier mortgages are being paid.
    Related and of interest is that NZ Stuff carries an op-ed article about men being the ‘new second sex’. Marginalised and disempowered. Right on the button, I’d say.
    And still all most mens ‘leaders’ want to talk about it in the vain hope that the feminist media and current powers that be will actually listen.
    Yeah right JT and Co.
    The woman who wrote the NZStuff article summed it up beautifully for me. Her final statement was to the effect that she could see men struggling in second place, but left it to men to fight for themselves. Gosh. Jolly compassionate and helpful woman eh?
    Silly old me. Helping women out all these years with everything from doing stressful higher paid work to support my wife and women en masse with all that income tax – through to collecting money for women’s refuge in my spare time and setting up anger management programs. Talk about a fool and his money/energy soon parted!! lol!!

    And then there’s the handwringing about men having ‘lost thier way’ and having ‘no defining role anymore’.
    Oh please get off the potty!
    Personally I reckon it’s long overdue time to get over the sociology 101 angst and handwringing about ‘how masculinity should be expressed’.
    Who the hell has the right to say how any bloke should be provided he’s not harmimg anyone else? Jeeze Wayne. Do we need this piffle?
    As for women breaking the glass ceiling more than men. Whoopdedoo. Let the women stress out and die younger in the top jobs for a change. They can have it.
    Have you seen how much Hellun Wheels, Margaretski and other top gun wimmin have aged recently? DOn’t look too close. It ain’t pretty I’ll tell you.

    And as a consequence no longer having to be the major breadwinner is hugely liberating if a bit vertigo-inducing at first. (The giddiness comes from the realisation of the endless possibilities which exist once not ‘in harness’ as my old mate author Max Goldberg would put it).
    Try it if you haven’t already.
    I thoroughly recommend it.
    Rant over.

    Comment by Stephen — Tue 9th August 2005 @ 12:48 am

  2. Further thoughts,
    Well as expected I’m totally underwhelmed by the amount of media these ‘Men’s leaders’ managed to get. A quick scouring online of NZ newspapers and news websites reveals about 10 measly lines of largely academic theorising from Stuart Birks. (Nothing wrong with academic theorizing, only I imagine most folks did what I did when reading it – shrugged and said I wonder what’s on Telly?)

    Skip to a man dressed as Spiderman perched on a crane in Clapham, London. Worldwide media coverage for several days.

    Go figure.

    One other thing.
    This one for Rex McCann.
    Sorry Bud. I don’t buy your ‘you can’t have an identity crisis until your identity is formed’ line about young NZ men. Check out developmental Psychologist Eric Erickson’s ages and stages identity formation thoery.
    Young NZ men may not have your ‘formed identity’ (Whatever that is. Please tell me when mine will be ‘formed’ as it’s seeems to still be developing over a lifetime in line with the much more sophisticated Ericksonian model).
    Perhaps I’m just a retard though and with some more effort may make the quantum leap to essential manhood soon! LOL!
    Have a good day Bro!

    Comment by Stephen — Sun 14th August 2005 @ 1:56 pm

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