MENZ Issues: news and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health.

Only men’s refuge in the country closed

Filed under: Domestic Violence,General — JohnPotter @ 1:32 pm Wed 15th November 2006

In the NZ Herald on Saturday:

No refuge for battered male victims
By Simon Collins

The Separated Fathers Support Trust ran the four-bedroom refuge, officially a men’s “retreat house”, in Manurewa from December 2002 until May, when the manager, Warren Heap, became paralysed with the rare nerve disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Heap says the refuge was always full, and for a while had a caravan as well. In all, 51 men and 71 of their children stayed in the house for up to three months. Some of the men were escaping physical abuse, in a way comparable to women’s refuges. One had knife wounds “all up his arms”, inflicted by a partner who was a drug addict. “There were quite a few that were knifed,” Heap says.

I’m sorry to hear that Warren has been laid low by ill-health, and I’m sad that the “retreat house” has had to close. I first met Warren in January 98 when a group of volunteers from Men’s Centre North Shore went to help move furniture into his first men’s refuge in Glen Eden

Since then he has battled, in the face of what would seem to most people insurmountable obstacles, to provide a service a for men which we all know is desperately needed.

My guess is that being the man he is, Warren will find some less stressful and time-consuming role to play in the men’s movement. Hopefully he will get to spend a whole lot more time just enjoying being Dad with his own children!

I wish you all the best, mate!


  1. Hi Peter,
    Thanks very much for your impassioned feedback. I feel for you and hope the situation improves eventually!

    With best wishes,

    Simon Collins
    Social Issues Reporter, New Zealand Herald
    46 Albert St, P.O. Box 32, Auckland 1140
    Tel. 09 373 6473 or 021 612 423
    Fax 09 373 6421
    [email protected]

    [email protected]
    13/11/2006 12:13
    To [email protected]
    Subject Feedback from the website
    This message has been sent via the NZ Herald Website
    Peter Burns
    [email protected]

    I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart as a falsely accused six year family court veteran and permanently tarred DV daddy to his two alienated daughters who will 14 and 12 in December. I think your article Domestic Violence Campaigners Accused of Bias was a great tool to start some much needed balanced debate in the discussion regarding DV the modern day scourge of society so we finally can we attack the problem with objectivity. The despicable acts of insane violence used by a small majority of men in the family situations unfortunately stereotype all men as perpetrators of the violence, much to the detriment of children because government agencies seem to working within the provisions of a bias and prejudice agenda.
    Kind regards
    Peter Burns
    27 Elizabeth St

    Comment by dad4justice — Wed 15th November 2006 @ 2:06 pm

  2. Good on Simon Collins for exposing this shameful situation.

    Well surprise, surprise.
    No refuges at all for men in nz.
    Same old same old.
    No-one stepped up to the plate and organised the continuation of a shelter for men when Warren’s health suffered. nzers just let it slide. After all it was only for men.
    Meanwhile feminist frontmen like Neville Robertson get national press coverage in The Herald saying they want yet another domestic violence campaign to stigmatise men further (and pay him no doubt).

    nz (

    Comment by Stephen — Wed 15th November 2006 @ 2:55 pm

  3. Warren should get a New Years honour for the work he has done over many years.


    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Wed 15th November 2006 @ 3:37 pm

  4. Sorry Stephen,you are wrong mate.Paul and Jim were keen to set up Mens Refuge West Auckland but were told by Police brass that in doing so they would be arrested and prosecuted!! Common sense overrode compassion and injustice prevailed!!

    Comment by Mike — Wed 15th November 2006 @ 10:28 pm

  5. Hi Mike,
    from what you say it sounds to me like I wasn’t wrong at all. Fact is no-one has stepped up to the plate as I said. Thanks for explaining why that’s so (in the case of West Auckland).
    Would you explain further what the police brass thought they would have organisers of a refuge for abused men arrested and prosecuted for?

    Comment by Stephen — Thu 16th November 2006 @ 1:09 am

  6. Guys,

    There is a possibility I am wrong but … I am pretty sure that you underestimate the work in West Auckland. Don’t write your brothers out at Man Alive too easy.

    Comment by julie — Thu 16th November 2006 @ 2:47 pm

  7. Julie,
    No need for alarm.
    If the Man Alive crew can get a Men’s refuge together (that isn’t a feminist indoctrination centre) I’ll be the first to commend them.
    Until nz does offer it’s battered menfolk refuges whilst supplying such for women you’ll just have to live with the stigma of belonging to a misandrist country.

    I agree with you.
    Warren should be the recipient of an honour. How is someone to be so honoured nominated?

    Comment by Stephen — Thu 16th November 2006 @ 3:53 pm

  8. Maybe I could send Helengrad a bunch of flowers and ask her to put Warrren’s name forward. I will send her a copy of a recent ‘in memoriam’ from two young children in the local paper for a dad I used to play rugby with many moons ago.He was a honest decent bloke however false allegations of child abuse and DV plus unfair protection orders …same old crap….same old sick system……… by a vindictive and malicious ex forced him to speak to the double barrel two years ago.It was one hella mess. John Hurst explains it well ” How hard are these men to be driven in the best interests of the child? Their suicides give the answer.So that’s in the best interests of children!!
    Sadly the ‘in memoriam’ from his kids say’s the system got it wrong again. It is a hateful and unbalanced system.

    Comment by dad4justice — Thu 16th November 2006 @ 4:15 pm

  9. hi
    does anyone know what year the first mens refuge centre opened.
    im doing a report on DV for college and although there is plenty of info on women there is nothing on men. also anywhere i can get statistics from.

    Comment by Lindsay — Tue 20th May 2008 @ 3:38 am

  10. Paul Catton or Jim Bagnall can tell you about Auckland.
    Tauranga UoF have accomodation but its not a refuge.
    We take guys who have been kicked out, some who need a place for contact weekends with kids etc. Refuge implies a “undisclosed location” but the Kids Need Dads house is well labelled Union of Fathers. You can get old newsletters from [email protected] if you wish more info or write to me at [email protected].
    It would be good for whatever you write to be available to others to read at some stage.

    Comment by allan Harvey — Tue 20th May 2008 @ 9:26 am

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