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Big Buddies for boys with ‘violent’ fathers

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 12:57 pm Wed 3rd November 2010

Dear John Potter

In February last year you wrote a comment supporting the Big Buddy organisation, in which you said that buddies would not be assigned to boys with a father present, but excluded by the Family Court.

That’s certainly what I believed when I became involved.

But now I hear on the grapevine that this may not be the case – that boys may be given buddies because their father is deemed “violent” or “abusive”.

I haven’t seen anything official about this yet, but I am deeply concerned that what I believed was a core principle of the organisation may not always be upheld.

Please don’t use my name if you make this public.


  1. I’m going to be the odd one out and say it would be a good idea to help young boys/men who have had violent fathers. In fact, it would be a good idea to help young girls/women who have violent mothers.

    Why not help them? They have bad role models and it can affect the rest of their life in a negative way.

    Why not help the young boys/men who have violent mothers or the young girls/women who have violent fathers?

    Why not?

    If big buddies policy is to contact the father’s first, then they have the fathers permission and who are we to tell another parent what to consent to. I’m going to ask if Big Buddie changed their policy.


    Also, there’s a lot of children who have issues around their parents i.e not having a father or mother in the home, not having contact, not knowing who they are OR that they were abusive. Why not help them ALL?

    Comment by julie — Wed 3rd November 2010 @ 3:33 pm

  2. “Why not?” you ask.
    Well, because whilst it’s all well and good in theory to support boys with violent parents and as there are undoubtedly some violent parents out there, it’s a shameful fact that under NZ law men can and all too often are deemed to be ‘violent’ on the hearsay of an abusive (usually female) false accuser.
    In a perfect world with a NZ family court system that was fair and impartial and with sensible instead of misandric domestic violence and family law practices there would be no issue.
    However under the draconian reign of terror of feminist stained NZ this is a huge problem (mostly for men) that’s why not!
    And I’m very disappointed that you’d even ask such a question in the first place with so little obvious regard for the welfare of men and children.

    Comment by Skeptik — Wed 3rd November 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  3. And I’m very disappointed…..

    Are you sure you’re not a princess yourself? (in a male’s body)

    Well, because whilst it’s all well and good in theory to support boys with violent parents and as there are undoubtedly some violent parents out there, it’s a shameful fact that under NZ law men can and all too often are deemed to be ‘violent’ on the hearsay of an abusive (usually female) false accuser.

    I see your point. It’s a shame you don’t hear from men’s lobby groups equal to feminist lobby groups.

    Comment by julie — Wed 3rd November 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  4. Julie do “men’s lobby groups” exist in New Zealand?

    Comment by dad4justice — Wed 3rd November 2010 @ 8:47 pm

  5. “But now I hear on the grapevine that this may not be the case — that boys may be given buddies because their father is deemed “violent” or “abusive”.”
    I suggest you get a better grapevine !
    I am seriously over this shit, we are working hard to support the many boys without fathers, most of their fathers are dead, never been around, left years ago etc. The bottom line is boys need men in their lives, if they are to develop into whole men themselves. We very occasionally have to make a call in the grey area where the father is around but eg in the mental health system, we make these calls very carefully and always have the boy as our focus.
    We are not the enemy and trying to make us the enemy diminishes your voice. Supporting fathering is a big task, I suggest you focus on the real work here.

    Comment by Richard Aston — Thu 4th November 2010 @ 9:29 am

  6. Julie do “men’s lobby groups” exist in New Zealand?

    I wonder if you are thinking of something specific because I think you know they exist.

    Definition of lobby group

    Advocacy groups (also pressure groups, lobby groups and some interest groups and special interest groups) use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems.

    I don’t know who’s the most successful, but I think NZ’s Prostate Cancer Foundation would be up there as a leader.

    And I think you know of the others but I don’t know how much you like them. 😉

    Comment by julie — Thu 4th November 2010 @ 8:31 pm

  7. Following is my contribution from 12 Feb 2009 to a discussion on MENZ about Big Buddy. Nothing much has changed apparently, except that Mr Aston has become more aggressive in expressing his intolerance at being questioned.

    I was open minded about Big Buddy (BB) and I previously highlighted some positive aspects of the message conveyed by the scheme, e.g. that men are important in children’s lives. I was also reassured by several statements made on MENZ by the BB chief executive Richard Aston. However, when I checked their web site I found nothing to support Aston’s assurances, and I found that BB works under a contract with CYFS and that BB worked with the Families Commission and Barnados. On the surface, it looked as though BB was another gear in the machinery that defathers our society. I sent a list of questions to Richard Aston and he declined to answer them. I replied politely encouraging Richard Aston to answer my questions so that I might foster support for BB among the men’s movement. He has not bothered to reply. I am now highly suspicious of BB and I suspect that Richard Aston’s statements on MENZ were designed as hollow reassurance to deflect the mens’ movement’s disquiet. BB is colluding with anti-father and anti-family forces in our society, and at the very least demonstrates little recognition of the broader political and philosophical context of its activities. Its true attitude towards fathers is evident in Aston’s arrogant and patronizing dismissal of my questions. I urge men and fathers to challenge Big Buddy to come clean about its operation, and until it does, to warn society about its facilitation of family wrecking.

    Relevant correspondence was as follows. Draw your own conclusions.

    Dear Mr Aston

    I have followed the debate about Big Buddy in the Dominion Post and on the MENZ site, where I have already posted a contribution.

    I have read the Big Buddy web pages and some of the newsletters. I was not able to find any statement indicating where the boundaries lie between your service and biological fathers, or supporting your statements on MENZ that Big Buddy works to try to engage biological fathers in their children’s lives before offering the substitute options.

    I have a number of questions and would be very grateful for your response:

    1. Does Big Buddy provide buddies for children whose fathers cannot see them due to unresolved Family Court proceedings?

    2. Does Big Buddy provide buddies for children whose fathers refuse contact with their children while Family Court proceedings are ongoing?

    3. Does Big Buddy provide buddies for children whose fathers refuse to see their children because such contact has been legally limited to supervised access?

    4. Does Big Buddy provide buddies to children whose fathers are in prison?

    5. Does Big Buddy seek permission from living fathers who are unavailable to their children, e.g. in prison or living overseas?

    6. What would Big Buddy do if an absent father expressly denied permission?

    7. Big Buddy has a contract with CYFS. CYFS frequently removes children from fathers and moreover often specifically seeks to exclude fathers from children’s lives. This is sometimes based on dubious grounds, e.g. unsubstantiated allegations from mother or grandparents, conviction for illegal pornography in the absence of any sexual offending towards children, or rudeness by a father towards the social worker who then mounts a vendetta against that father (as a psychologist I have been involved professionally in several such cases). CYFS also frequently bring about father exclusion by threatening the mother with removal action if she allows the father to stay in the family home or to have contact with the children.

    7(a) Does Big Buddy provide buddies to children whose fathers have been removed by CYFS?

    7(b) Would Big Buddy proceed if father exclusion had occurred in any of the above ways?

    7(c) Does Big Buddy make any effort to involve fathers who have been excluded from children’s lives by CYFS?

    7(d) Does Big Buddy investigate the background and circumstances that have led to a father being excluded by CYFS?

    7(e) Under what circumstances would Big Buddy accept permanent father exclusion by CYFS and proceed with providing buddies?

    8. According to your newsletter you have been working with the Families Commission and Barnados. Both of these organisations intentionally or unintentionally collude with feminist processes that result in the defathering of our society. The Families Commission like the government that formed it seeks to redefine the concept of family to mean “any bunch of cohabitants”, and from what I have seen it avoids doing anything that might highlight the damage being done to our children by social defathering processes. Barnados makes most of its income from supervised access orders, thus turning the wheels of the vast machinery now existing to damage fathers’ roles in their children’s lives.

    8(a) Are you aware that Big Buddy’s involvement with such organisations risks identifying it as yet another organisation working to reduce respect for men and fathers?

    8(b) Have you similarly contacted and worked with men’s and fathers’ groups, and if not, why not?

    Kind regards,

    Hans Laven

    Aston’s reply:

    Hi Hans,
    This debate is over for me, I have clarified our values and approach as clearly as possible , I just don’t have the time to get into a point by point debate on all possible scenarios. To be honest I think you are pointing your energy in the wrong direction , there is much that needs changing in the world.

    The last email sent 5 Feb:

    Hi Richard
    I wrote this email before reading your reply to a couple of these questions on the MENZ site. I just hoped for answers to this set of questions, most of them yes/no ones. That would reassure me about the policy you have conveyed on MENZ and would enable me to encourage the men’s movement to support your organization. Surely you could look through the questions and provide brief answers?

    Regards, Hans

    Comment by Hans Laven — Thu 4th November 2010 @ 10:52 pm

  8. Thanks Hans,
    reading your letter and Aston’s arrogant stonewalling I see Man Alive seems somewhat like the kind of outfit I left years ago. At that time the lead ‘counselor’ condoned men being sent for Anger management on spurious allegations of violence NOT being informed of their right to forsake attendance on the program and contest family court directives to attend.

    What a messed up idiotic piece of work he was!

    I reckon he needed counseling as much or more than many of his clients.

    I clearly recall talking with the guy about the issue and him frantically leaping up to a whiteboard in his office and trying to convince me with supposedly meaningful diagrams of the validity of counselors at Man Alive (a clique of pro-feminist male counselors) purposely ‘forgetting’ to inform men of their right to contest orders to attend Anger management.

    It was a disgusting con, a callous rort on the taxpayer and other sponsors. It abused the image of men whilst feathering their cult’s nest.

    Comment by Skeptik — Fri 5th November 2010 @ 6:09 am

  9. Richard,
    It’s one hell of a shame that you had to be so forcefully provoked by Hans publishing his letter to you here on this thread before deigning to come off your pedestal and offer a response to him on this thread.
    Like it or not your job is to be accountable to the community, especially the male community. AND you still haven’t answered many of his questions, just issued a blanket statement which leaves many of us still in the dark about your activities. Given Man Alive’s history of kowtowing to feminist wishes I think it’s imperative to be totally open and accountable. If you can’t do that without throwing an “I’m so over this shit” hissy, then I think you’re the wrong man for the job.
    Worse still you leave yourself and Man Alive in a murky light looking like you’ve got something to hide -(shades of CYPS and ‘Family’ ‘court’ there).

    When you’re more open and answer all of Hans’ questions point by point you may get trusted, until then expect to be monitored and critiqued. That’s life for a CEO dipping into the public purse.

    Comment by Skeptik — Fri 5th November 2010 @ 11:19 am

  10. Skeptik, there has been no connection between Man Alive and Big Buddy for several years.

    Comment by JohnPotter — Fri 5th November 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  11. Thanks for the update JP.
    It’s a relief to hear the Big Buddy program is no longer vested with Man Alive!
    My apology for such errant commentary.
    However, the thrust of my challenge to Richard Aston remains, as I am no less strongly reminded of Man Alive’s in-house feminist cabal’s dirty dealings and repugnant arrogance reading Hans’ letter to Richar Aston and his response here on this thread.

    Comment by Skeptik — Fri 5th November 2010 @ 4:06 pm

  12. This really is all Bull SHIT and most people would be MAD to even think of putting their cards on the table, because as Jim Bailey used to continuously say, “Men cut each other down”. It’s bad enough living in a small clicky country that’s well known for it’s ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ but to have a couple of online writers think the best ground established groups have to answer to them is ludicrous.

    Feminists haven’t listened to online men or whining offline men for decades because they 150% believe it’s all about “Tall Poppy Syndrome”. The more men do it, the more determined they get.

    Man Alive got somewhere because they cut ties with all MRAs who bitched – you can’t please some people and you’d be nuts to try – it’s a waste of time and resources and gets you nowhere while if you ditch them, your dreams are limitless….. And now Man Alive is out there on their own, the number one advocacy for men who won’t listen to so called MRAs. They listen to the ‘women’s refuge’ that cut ties with the National collective because of the ‘man-hate’ – wow, they’re awesome. They’ll welcome the support of the community who will help them getting a men’s refuge and so on. But, they won’t listen to men who think themselves GODs.

    Privilege is sooooo yesterday, Hahaha, the idea of “listen to what I say and not what I do” went out around the 1930’s. It’s now, “Listen to what I do – not what I say”….. role modelling is everything. We also tossed out the hierarchy in the 1940’s and replaced it with vertical systems where you are listened to if you are worth listening to and still today, no-one with a piece of paper saying their smart gets preference for the job. University school leavers themselves can’t understand why they don’t get jobs immediately because they have degrees and masters.

    BTW, I drive past Man Alive every week and see more and more men stepping forward – all damn good men that DESERVE medals for walking the walk. Honestly talk is good for educating but that’s where the line is drawn.

    Comment by julie — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 8:02 am

  13. Your contribution would be worth a bit more IMO, if you shared what’s going on in Tauranga. Wow! Your area’s buzzing with lobby work. How come you aren’t a part of it?

    Comment by julie — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 8:11 am

  14. Julie:

    What relevance does news of Tauranga have to the topic of the Big Buddy programme and our valid concerns that it might collude with feminist forces to diminish or usurp the role of real fathers? Nothing in its web pages mentioned anything about protecting the status of real fathers or taking care in situations when real fathers have been subject to women’s allegations and anti-male legal processes, or indeed showed any awareness of the very real political issues relevant to BB’s activities. No constitution or code of ethics was published to allay our concerns either. But its published documents did mention a contract with CYFS. So I asked 15 questions to explore BB’s activities and policies in some specific situations that involve a real risk of working against real fathers. Mr Aston’s refusal to answer them strongly suggests that our concerns are justified.

    And you imply, in indirect, manipulative fashion, that I don’t do lobbying or anything useful for men. You must know that’s incorrect, dishonest and simply a personal slur.

    You do seem to take every opportunity to damage the NZ men’s movement by fostering conflict, siding with loose cannon individuals who cause division and bring the movement into disrepute, and denigrating strong contributors. What’s your true agenda here?

    Comment by Hans Laven — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 9:07 am

  15. Yeah, tell us how it’s done Julie.

    It’s strange that in speaking of the tall poppy syndrome and men cutting each other down you quote Jim Bailey. He indulges in little else and continually demonstrates very low morals concerning the accuracy of his derogatory claims, the decency of his communication and the effect of his abuse.

    You appear to be learning a lot from Bailey by using capital letters to highlight your offering of personal abuse such as calling people “MAD” and their contributions “all Bull SHIT” and denigrating men’s genuine expression of concerns as “whining” and “bitching”.

    Your advocacy for feminist refusal to listen to men’s concerns and indeed for arrogant feminist “we know better” ideology shows your true colours I suspect. The platitudes you offer concerning men and the problems they face don’t cover up the fact that you operate like most feminist groups seeking to damage men and their political activities. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 9:30 am

  16. Thanks Skeptic for your intelligent thinking and your well-reasoned contributions that we can always rely on.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 9:39 am

  17. I don’t have time for this at the moment, Hans. It’s a bit sad I suppose because you have the right to come back at my comment.


    You and Skeptic are very good at pulling people down. It’s very helpful in teaching of the misandry in society. You have each other’s back and that makes for a good working relationship.

    I hope you can understand others on the ground and working in the community are going to be the same as they work together striving to fix the problems.


    It’s great you talk about the problems. Just not when you start having a go at those fixing them.

    Comment by julie — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 12:36 pm

  18. Man Alive cut all ties with men who bitched

    – Translation: Man Alive cut all ties with men who criticized them for sucking up to feminists.

    We also tossed out the hierarchy in the 1940?s and replaced it with vertical systems where you are listened to if you are worth listening to.

    Try telling that to the untold guys who get a ‘hearing’ in our star chamber ‘family’ ‘courts’. Or to those whose lives are turned upside down with the serving of a protection order based on a false allegation. Or to the guys who’d love to raise a family without everyday being in thrall to being dumped and financially gutted. Or to the population at large who are still reached to from people of high office who should know better the misandric ‘1 in 4 women have been sexually abused’ type propaganda.

    I know I’m repeating myself to Julie here but last time I looked at the definition education was a verb, as was talking, writing, thinking, analyzing, critiquing and synthesizing. All verbs are words which denote action and can therefore fall under the rubric of the verb ‘doing’.
    Gosh that makes all us thinkers, critiquers, analyzers,talkers and writers ……..

    Wait for it…………..Drumroll please …………..


    Now for the record let it be known that whilst I think Man Alive does allot of good work I am appalled at Man Alive’s approach to certain problems and I’m offering positive actions I suggest they can take but clearly shy away from (at the behest of local feminists?)

    Instead of sponging off the taxpayer by providing a ‘service’ of mentoring for defathered boys they should be working 24/7/365 to advocate for attitudes and laws that stop the defathering process in the first place. A good place to start would be the ridiculous ‘no fault’ divorce laws. Then there’s the too often misandrically interpreted and over the top DV laws plus the many secretive ‘family’ ‘courts’ which they need to work at opening up and making accountable.
    Does Man Alive even offer so much as a service of providing McKenzie friends for men of little means going through the ‘family’ ‘court’ system? – A cursory look at their website gives the answer: No.

    Instead of blindly (and very profitably) taking so many referrals for anger management they could be cutting the nettle off at it’s root by going out into the community and teaching males of all ages how to overcome the myriad messages they get encouraging and inculcating them into suppressing thoughts and feelings to the point of feeling overwhelmed, threatened and in danger of lashing out in self defense.
    I suggest in doing so they leave their plush comfortable offices such as at the large heritage building they occupy in West Auckland and enter into conversations on the ground with males of all ages. In doing so they’ll learn a huge amount about the pressures NZ guys are forced to endure everyday with stereotyping of males and misandry still so rife in NZ.

    I see from their website that man Alive have expanded hugely over the last few years with 4 offices in Auckland alone. That suggests to me that they aren’t really solving the problems as I’ve outlined above but just becoming an entrenched part of a systemic failure for men.
    Instead they could and in my view should rather be aiming to SHRINK they’re services. THAT would be the ultimate marker of success. Think of it this way – as if the prison service shrank because there were less and less people imprisoned and so less and less need for a prison service.

    Speaking of the prison service, indeed the justice system overall as far as I can tell Man Alive does nothing to challenge the high imprisonment rate of NZ males. They are as they put it apolitical. That’s a euphemism for bought off and politically neutered they could overcome with courage to challenge their systemic co-operators and masters.

    The issues I talk about are complex and no doubt intersect.
    Therefore I believe the correct response to those who try to think about, analyze, critique, complain and advocate for changes related to these issues don’t deserve cutting down as in Julie’s hypocritical ‘apotheosis’ – on the contrary they should be respected even rewarded with praise.

    Comment by Skeptik — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 1:44 pm

  19. Adendum –
    I meant to say Educate is a verb (line 11)
    Also _ meant to say still preached to from people of high office (line 8)

    My apology for any confusion caused.

    Comment by Skeptik — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  20. 2nd addendum:
    Arghhhh! My big clumsy fingers!

    Also I meant to say still preached to from people of high office (line 8)

    Comment by Skeptik — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  21. When did you work for Man Alive?

    Comment by julie — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 2:22 pm

  22. Julie,
    I never stopped working for Man Alive. I just do it on a voluntary basis these days providing them with valuable feedback.

    Comment by Skeptik — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  23. This doesn’t make sense to me. When you were present you knew the men that were present with you. Now they are gone as are you and new men replaced all of you.

    The wonderful dream to get a building and have the ability to run workshops and presentations and ability to present men’s issues to the wider community came true. Now men are using that dream to be all they can.

    They don’t know to come here and gain your disappointment. hear what you have to tell them.

    Comment by julie — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 3:27 pm

  24. I think I was mean in my last comment because I know you would have worked hard with other men to make Man Alive a reality. It’s the number 1 long term dream I have for single parents which includes mothers AND fathers or fathers AND mothers as well as their children and for Orphans.

    Very Sorry. ;(

    Comment by julie — Sat 6th November 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  25. I feel I should reflect on what I’ve written yesterday and let others know that I don’t think ‘Man Alive’ has the top spot for men’s advocacy. There’s many men’s groups around NZ providing excellent service in the community, networking well with other organisations and helping to change NZ into a man-friendly country.

    Union of Fathers is doing awesome things as well as Father and Child Trust and the groups whose links are listed in the column would be doing good things too like Essentially men and DIY Fathers – (they even write books on parenting). There’s also individual work being done like Hans being quoted in newspapers advocating for men and Murray being on TV for child support and a number of others who have written on this site or read it have also been in the public spotlight recently.

    And then there’s the internet where men’s sites educate men about their environment and empower them. I wonder whether this is the top spot for advocacy.

    Comment by julie — Sun 7th November 2010 @ 9:11 am

  26. Im glad to have found this website. its not just me!!

    Comment by shane — Sun 7th November 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  27. Welcome Shane, enjoy your stay. I think it’s neat you’ve written these words. It lets people know they’re writing is helpful IMO.

    Comment by julie — Mon 8th November 2010 @ 12:31 am

  28. “Like it or not your job is to be accountable to the community, especially the male community.”
    Firstly Skeptik this is little rich coming from someone talking behind a pseudonym.
    Secondly I am accountable to my trust board and to our funders, no one else.
    As an organisation our mission is to help fatherless boys of which there are thousands in New Zealand. While I am connected to many parts of the broad spectrum that is the men’s community I am very clearly not accountable to that wide community and never will be.

    Hans- your long list of detailed questions were, in my view, all rhetorical – they are your views ,your fears, your opinions. You of course have a right to those views but I have no interest in debating with you on them and I suspect you have no real interest in debating with me. You clearly see Big Buddy as part of the evil empire conspiring to remove children from their fathers. It seems a pointless debate, your mind is made up. It diminishes us both to get into senseless bickering.

    It just saddens me that as Julie reminds us – Men cut each other down – why do we do it?

    One last clarification, Big Buddy is not formally, legally or economically associated with Man Alive and has not been since 2004.

    My passion around this is largely in defense of the hundreds of good men who volunteer with us as mentors. They are walking the talk, devoting large amounts of their time to help boys with no fathers at all. These men are heroes in my eyes. I shall not allow their reputations to be sullied by a bitter few.

    Comment by Richard Aston — Mon 8th November 2010 @ 8:56 am

  29. No Richard, it isn’t rich at all having to hide behind a pseudonym in order to avoid the further backstabbing from feminists – death by a million cuts I endured for several decades in NZ.
    Not something I expect someone like yourself so enmeshed in the feminist system would be able to relate to.
    It’s a necessary yet poor state of affairs, but it does allow me a certain freedom to be outspoken.

    So, your only accountable to your trust board and funders.
    Wow! Thanks for clarifying your attitudes to there.
    Individual men, indeed small groups of men can now rest easy the the good ship Man Alive is captained by someone so allmighty and wise that he need never listen to their concerns but only be accountable to his tiny little inner cadre board and a handful of funders (with strings attached from them too).
    You go for it man.
    You’re a model of open democracy right there. LOL!

    In baiting and switching I notice you haven’t addressed any of my qualms about your activities with Man Alive or shown the slightest interest in even discussing those issues as I raised in a previous post –
    * The systematic defatherig of NZ society.
    * Supporting men going through ‘family’ ‘court’.
    * Working within the community rather than in a plush heritage building office.
    * Challenging NZ’s appallingly high rate of male incarceration.
    * Setting as a success marker the shrinking of your services.

    Nor have you addressed many of the issues raised by Hans Levin.

    Now that’s what I call rich, or in your case Richard.

    Comment by Skeptik — Mon 8th November 2010 @ 11:13 am

  30. very. My dad was not a good parent and cos of that i’ve done some stupid mistakes. Im older and wiser now and want the chance to love my own 2 boys. but their mum has convinced everyone that I am unable to look after them. I’m going to fight though.

    Comment by shane — Mon 8th November 2010 @ 1:08 pm

  31. Look I am truly sorry if in defending my organisation, Big Buddy, I may have… bristled a little.
    I don’t mean to undermine you beliefs and concerns Skeptik. Good on ya for being outspoken the world needs more outspokeness.
    You clearly have some major concerns about Man Alive and I suggest you take them up with Man Alive not with me as I don’t work for Man Alive much less captain it.
    Go well.

    Comment by Richard Aston — Mon 8th November 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  32. Richard, I think boys are very fortunate to have a ‘big buddy’ that spends time with them and cares about being a role model. When you think about it, boys had big buddies everywhere in society i.e tradesmen who took on apprenticeships etc.

    I think Skeptic put his and Hans concerns in perspective when he said….

    …that under NZ law men can and all too often are deemed to be ‘violent’ on the hearsay of an abusive (usually female) false accuser.

    I am aware fathers can have orders placed on them because the ex partner wants a new man living in the house yet as to date I haven’t come across a falsely accused man say ‘big buddy’ came on the scene and I hope I never do.

    Personally, I beleive some parents will use all sorts of community groups to do things for them.

    Comment by julie — Mon 8th November 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  33. Hi Richard,
    My apology for getting you mixed up with Man Alive.
    The Man Alive I knew not only ran the Big Buddy program but took their sponsors money for doing so whilst turning a blind eye to the misandric defathering processes which resulted in such a conveyor belt of boys as their client base.
    I know that because I had discussion with ‘counselors’ at Man Alive who denied the elephant in the room and even claimed I was crazy and deluded for stroking it’s trunk and feeding it donuts.

    Still, you are in a very awkward position.
    I’m afraid the feminists in NZ and their misguided chivalrous white knight enablers will just love what you’re doing with ‘Big buddy’.
    They can blithely indeed callously go about continuing to defather NZ leaving the likes of you and the ‘Big buddy’ program to put a band aid on a gaping wound.
    They can then say “Oh,look we’re supporting the male mentoring of kids”, not mentioning it’s a whole lot of tokenism whilst all the while their nest feathering misandric juggernaut rolls onwards.

    False accusations from women in divorce and custody disputes all over the place, no fault divorce by far most often initiated by women who get a raft of taxpayer funded supports to transition into ex-wives, Peter Ellis still not pardoned, Male teachers dropping out in droves, arrest male-only DV policies, women’s organizations routinely rorting taxpayers money to demonize men and fathers, Air NZ’s misandric adult females only next to unaccompanied children policy…..and I’m only scratching the surface here. Just joining a few dots to illustrate the intricate webs of deceit and corruption rendering so many thousands of kids fatherless.

    Now I’m sure you mean well, but in my view you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. Therefore the thought of ‘hundreds of men’ as you put it volunteering to mentor boys is on one level heartening, on another level it’s very disturbing that so many boys come to so completely lack male role models in the first place.

    Surely, therefore if you truly feel concern for kids in NZ you’d be advocating an end of misandric laws and practices there which lead to so many fatherless kids?

    Comment by Skeptik — Mon 8th November 2010 @ 5:01 pm

  34. Surely, therefore if you truly feel concern for kids in NZ you’d be advocating an end of misandric laws and practices there which lead to so many fatherless kids?

    Absolutely. I wanted to make comment that Big Buddy is answerable to stakeholders as a non monetary business and that includes the boys, the buddies, their area’s males, the council, government etc just not necessarily activist writers, BECAUSE an ideology and anti ideology can clash with shareholders and stakeholders as well as an interest group’s agenda (not that I consider your agenda – the well-being of men to be any different than the boys).


    I thought it good timing that Dad4Justice brought up men’s lobby groups + lobbying and was hoping he would have commented more BECAUSE I had just been in conversation with 2 advocacy groups about the lack of ability they have to lobby when providing services.

    The radical, gender feminists have set themselves up well enough to provide both service and lobbying and together IMO, each side supports the other side.

    Comment by julie — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 6:18 am

  35. Well said Skeptic, a great piece of writing.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 7:24 am

  36. I wonder though, which feminists would support ‘Big Buddy’.

    Comment by julie — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 9:02 am

  37. Richard Aston, Big Buddy Programme – My list of questions, actually 13 in total, is reproduced above for all to see. Although they are interspersed with some background explanation and, as is usually the case for questions, reflect concerns of the questioner, no reasonable person would define them as “rhetorical”. Eight could be answered adequately with a simple “yes” or “no” while the remaining five seek some elaboration or explanation. They were all asked with a genuine hope you would answer them, and in fact with a genuine hope that the answers would confirm your earlier reassurances to others on MENZ who had asked about BB’s policies. Unfortunately, your reassurances were in no way supported by or reflected in the information on BB’s internet profile, so further scrutiny was called for. My questions, albeit imperfect and rather hurriedly compiled, seek to explore some specifics of BB’s policies and activities. Dismissing them by conveniently mislabelling them as “rhetorical” is no credible substitute for answering them.

    Your other excuse for not answering my questions, that you “suspect” I have no real interest in debating with you, seems an even more desperate rationalization for evading them. The excuse is even less credible than the “rhetorical” one and inconsistent with the discussions about BB on MENZ (in which you even thanked me for my supportive stance).

    Why would you evade my questions? (Now thers’s a rhetorical question…) The most likely explanation is that you are uncomfortable about those searching questions and you believe that truthful answers would contradict the reassurances you previously offered and instead would result in further disquiet among politically aware men about de-fathering consequences of BB’s well-intentioned interventions. Truthful answers may result (though I’m not saying they would; I haven’t heard the answers yet) in further debate and perhaps pressure on BB to include more awareness and care in its constitution and/or policies in order to protect the role of real fathers who may have been pushed out of children’s lives by misandrist, feminist-serving laws and behaviours.

    For the record, here are several of your previous reassurances:


    Our policy is very clear we do not replace birth fathers who are involved in their children’s lives or want to be.

    Fine words, but actually that policy was not clear at all in the way BB described itself in its web pages, not even alluded to, and no such policy was remotely evident in its newsletters that were published there. Instead we read of a funding contract with a leading de-fathering organization in NZ, collaboration with other organizations that have supported misandry and failed to challenge de-fathering processes, and funding from the gambling industry that causes huge destruction of families.


    In cases where the birth father is know we go to a lot of effort to track birth fathers down, we ask for their contact details and will go to some lengths to talk to them. We have had many cases where we find the birth father still wants contact or often our call triggers him to make contact with his son, in all these cases we gracefully withdraw.

    …If the father does not give his blessing we of course do not engage further with the boy or his caregiver.

    If going to such effort to contact birth fathers and to assess their attitudes is a policy, why is this not mentioned in BB’s public profile? Also, looking closely at your words “where we find the birth father still wants contact or often our call triggers him to make contact with his son, in all these cases we gracefully withdraw”, this implies an ultimatum to the birth father; if he doesn’t want to resume contact then BB will fill the gap. But it’s rarely that simple. The reasons that fathers may have withdrawn from their children’s lives will be important. Often they include abuse by custodial mothers or the mothers’ new partners, either through alienation of the children or through direct violence, unpleasantness, unreliability or vindictive backstabbing. Often separated fathers find it traumatic to confront continually the damage custodial mothers are causing their children, those fathers also knowing through experience or knowledge that the system is likely to punish them for any attempt to protect their children. Under those and similar circumstances, providing a male buddy for the children may serve mainly to facilitate the ongoing alienation of the father. And given such common background circumstances, it’s no simple matter to assess an absent father’s real wishes or potential to resume contact with his children. Another rhetorical question: Is it not reasonable for participants in a men’s and fathers’ interest group to seek to clarify BB’s policies and methods concerning such matters?

    The next quote about needing the father’s blessing is a strong one and it’s surprising that it’s not reflected in BB’s literature. Further, it seems inconsistent with the first quote that implies that a father’s apparent wish to continue contact is the criterion for BB to withdraw.

    I add that the original discussion about BB involved disquiet expressed by John Brett about BB’s priorities on police checking “Buddy” volunteers rather than on protecting those volunteers from malevolent mothers or from inadvertently colluding with father alienation. In my opinion it’s more than reasonable for participants on MENZ to expect information about how well those volunteers are trained to recognize de-fathering processes and to avoid contributing to de-fathering, and on how well BB does its assessment of background circumstances.

    I realise it may seem daunting to enter into robust debate about these complex issues. But I would have hoped that the leader of an organization would jump at the chance to explain its operation, and might even be open to exploration of the organization’s policies and philosophies towards improving its actual social contribution.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 10:54 am

  38. The same feminists who would claim that they’re advocates for equality between the sexes but men have no issues of being treated unequally by social convention and law.

    The same feminists who can matronizingly shake their heads and say “tut, tut, tut” at the ‘huge’ numbers of ‘deadbeat dads’ who ‘abandon’ their kids as their misandric mythologizing narrative goes.

    The same feminists who’ll be pleased that they won for the vast majority of women outright ownership of kids (who as the next generation can be brainwashed en masse into feminist ideology completing the misandric routing) and that the institutionalized state sponsored screening of male mentors (not female ones mind you) becomes increasingly the norm with the formation and rapid expansion of the likes of ‘big buddy’ program.

    Of course there are even more extreme feminists who would like to see men have nothing whatsoever to do with children, and there are even some who would like to see an end to males period.

    Comment by Skeptik — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 11:17 am

  39. Actually the worst flack we ever got in the early days was from feminists, some did not believe a man could be trusted to be alone with a boy. Since then I have had some very moving meetings with some of those feminists, it was a huge revelation to them that men could run a social service like Big Buddy, that no boys had been abused and that lives had been change because of it. Perceptions of men are changing.

    Yes it is a concern that they are so many fatherless boys out there. In my experience in this field (8 years) the number of fatherless boys we meet who could be called victims of “misandric laws and practices” is pretty small. In the vast majority their fathers are dead or were never there or left some years ago and have not been seen since. I don’t even have a judgment about those fathers who never engaged, it is what it is. It is a problem though and we are working on one solution, there are no doubt more solutions we can all be part of.

    Julie – thanks for your reasoned support here , I appreciate it.

    Comment by Richard Aston — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  40. I wanted to make comment that Big Buddy is answerable to stakeholders as a non monetary business and that includes the boys, the buddies, their area’s males, the council, government etc …

    Julie, we are not just ‘males’, indistinguishable from male rabbits, male crickets or male kiwifruit plants. We are human males, respectfully referred to as men, boys or both (can you see what is implied when the qualifier human is so casually omitted?).

    In the men’s and father’s rights sphere, men everywhere object to being referred to in this way. I understand that those brought up in the old South would also have had a problem understanding what all the fuss was about when people objected to being called ‘niggers’, but whether it’s personally understandable or not, names matter.

    Comment by rc — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 12:52 pm

  41. NIIIIICE description – Good on you. 🙂

    Comment by julie — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 2:37 pm

  42. In my experience in this field (8 years) the number of fatherless boys we meet who could be called victims of “misandric laws and practices” is pretty small.

    Then your experience and mine (as well as many other men and increasing numbers of aware women in NZ) differs vastly.

    No wonder then you are so apparently disengaged from and indifferent to the creation of so much fatherlessness in NZ.
    Hundreds of thousands of fatherless NZ kids and decades now of feminists demonizing misandric narrative expecting us to believe that’s all simply a result of men’s fecklessness as parents.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    It a huge surprise and alarming to find out that someone like yourself who apparently needs such a wake-up call is running a program for the mentoring of defathered boys.
    Then again perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised.
    We are talking about a very femiNZt country after all.
    If you get out and about and listen to a much wider segment of fathers in NZ with an open mind and heart I’m confident that the wholesale denigration of fatherhood will eventually become crystal clear to you.
    Such a paradigm shift can be very unnerving as many of us former feminist’s handymen turned Men’s Rights Activists can attest to.
    We’ll be here to support you when the lights come on.

    Comment by Skeptik — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  43. Concrete question: What is violent and who says so? The gender lobby?

    I am too a violent father according to the Family Court. Only I challenge them to prove a tiny shadow of my violence.
    We have been there and done that Julie.

    Domestic violence is a business whose core commodity are children. The mothers a tool for their alienation.
    Stop the destruction of families. Will ya?

    Comment by tren (Christchurch) — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 6:05 pm

  44. Richard,
    It is also beneficial to look at the root of the problem. Why fathers are not there?
    Because if you understand that and try to find a solution for it than there will be less and less buddies needed.
    The violence industry (The Family Court, Woman’s Refuge, Cyfs, Police etc.. ) demonizes and drives away fathers from their children and homes. We are not merely debating here. Many of us are experiencing a tyranny from the state on a daily basis.

    Comment by tren (Christchurch) — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  45. tren,
    I’m confident you’ll be far, far from alone in having those kinds of sentiments.

    Richard are you hearing this – without filtering it?

    Comment by Skeptik — Tue 9th November 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  46. I have to put my hand up for this as well Tren.
    For according to the family caught I too am a violent father.
    There was no trial or anything as mundane as evidence. My Ex said so, and there you have it, I was.
    No one has ever shown that i was violent. The accusation was the proof.
    There is no innocent until proven guilty.
    Womens refuge, judges, lawyers, relationship councellors, people we knew (predominantly female) and even some complete strangers all agreed that I was violent. She said so, so there you have it.
    The icing on the cake was when one twat told me that my continued denial of my violence was just another form of abuse.
    Just another statistic.

    Comment by mits — Wed 10th November 2010 @ 9:09 am

  47. To Richard,

    Julie — thanks for your reasoned support here , I appreciate it.

    I appreciate your appreciation. 🙂 At the same time, I appreciate the wonderful work men like you do in the community.

    I also appreciate Skeptic’s sharing here and Hans and G, M, RC, M, T, and so on and so on. As well as being advocacy, it’s creating needed thought, conversation and change of direction or minimum men inclusion. (thanks Tren)

    I ended up having to stay overnight in hospital (I’m OK) having deep conversation with nurses and patients over our terrible child abuse record and ‘one child is too many’ ….is destroying a great amount of families.

    IMO, it’s better if we all look for the common denominators rather than small differences. I hope you stay here for a while and communicate on some issues.

    Comment by julie — Wed 10th November 2010 @ 11:01 am

  48. I volunteered as a Big Buddy- my background is a father and grandfather. I was “Police Checked” etc, all good.
    I then enquired if the mothers of these boys were also Police checked, because I have justified fears of false allegations being made.
    At that point, it all went off the rails. Apparently the “Big Buddy” mind-set cannot allow such ideas.
    Richard Aston made it clear to me that he is not interested in Men’s stories, only in his pre-conceived ideas.

    In my view, Big Buddy is reckless of the safety of the ‘Big Buddies’ because they have no systems in place to protect them from such allegations, and the devastation that follows for the accused.

    I would warn any man considering being a Big Buddy to be very afraid- not only of the possibly small possibility of false allegations occuring, but of an organization which is irevocably comitted to a feminist view of men.
    The only reason they gave for this lack of protection, and lack of system, is their determination NOT to listen to MEN, and their denial that such things can, and do happen.

    Comment by John Brett — Wed 10th November 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  49. Skeptik, those are not sentiments or opinions. They are, sadly, daily facts.

    Comment by tren (Christchurch) — Fri 19th November 2010 @ 7:09 am

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