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Easily forgotten – Disadvantaged Groups & Important Thanks

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,Gender Politics,Law & Courts,Sex Abuse / CYF — MurrayBacon @ 1:07 pm Sun 6th December 2015

I was listening to a group of people talking about the difficulties to obtain support for a charity, that gives them support.

I had heard similar discussions on several occasions, over several months. After hearing the same type of conversation for the 4th time, it really hit me how harsh their situation was and how well the trustees were doing, to get the fairly meagre support that they are getting. The real practical difficulties that the trustees faced had taken a long time to sink in, so that I could see how harsh a challenge they faced and were overcoming.

On further thought, it came back to me the change about 15 years ago, when charitable support for men’s groups was starting to be aggressively cut off. I was involved in Men’s Centre later, as this cutoff was turning into a completely blocked pipe. Despite a moderate amount of effort, I was completely unable to make any useful progress.

OK, so what? Well although it is true that the richest individuals in NZ are men, it is also true that there are many poor, very poor and socially disadvantaged men. Some people say that men can live rough, but it is unreasonable to expect a woman to live rough. WINZ put that attitude onto a man in Ashburton for 12 months and in the end, he expressed his frustrations in ascending noise levels, eventually gunshots. Many other men prefer to sleep rough, to being a part of genteel NZ society. I sometimes feel that way myself, but at least I have a choice. I cannot abide the sexist couldn’t care less for men attitude, even less the dullards who express it. They cannot live without the creations of men, but they cannot acknowledge that fundamental reality with any charm. (Are they not the creations of men themself?)

It was a lady who when asked what was the most disadvantaged group in NZ, who suggested that there are many groups in very harsh spaces, but one that she felt was too ignored and least supported, was poor men with mental health problems. At first I was surprised, but with knowing what to look for, I could see that there was considerable truth in what she said. I think she was a psychiatrist, but I cannot recall the details.

I am beating a round the bush, get to it!

So as the hashish smoke swirled around in my imagination, I came back to the image of Jim Bagnall.

Through the days of easier access to charitable donations, he was there. Through the days of difficult access to charitable donations, he was there, putting in time, knowledge and skills and often his own money.

Many of the women and men that he helped, later came onto better times, both in terms of time and money. However, often there was little acknowledgement of his support or thanks, let alone support back or even support for the next wave of people needing support. [Lots of things left out here, that I might like to say…] There was a lot of flack and criticism, much of it malicious and from the people who are the problem, or at least aren’t helping usefully……

So, I want to be clear that it was Jim Bagnall’s seminar in Remuerahh that led me into men’s groups. It was his teaching and ideas that showed me much of the way. I know many other people who will say the same. I might disagree on small points, but so what!

I hope that other people will also make clear their appreciation, as these things do need to be said.
Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks.

Maybe Jim B stands out the most, but there is quite a big group of men and women who have helped the causes of disadvantaged parents. They have all played important parts, in this unfortunate phase in NZ’s social history. Of course, thanks to them all too.

Jim is a rare man. (Good old schoolteacher!)


  1. According to John Key and his cronies we don’t have disadvantaged people in this country so no need for charities.

    Comment by JONO — Sun 6th December 2015 @ 2:53 pm

  2. This is very, very, very nice of you and written well.

    I remember protesting with Jim and seeing/hearing men honking their car horns to recognise him.

    I asked, “Who’s that” over and over and Jim would say, “A case”.

    He mentioned sometimes how well they had come out the other end which I gathered was all Jim needed to move onto another case and another. When he says he has helped over 10,000 fathers, I believe him.

    But I also wondered why they didn’t give back. Why I was protesting with Jim and not them. Hmmm.

    We had a stranger on this site donate $600 so we could protest one of those days. Imagine how much more we could have done with only 10,000 fathers gave just $1.

    Comment by julie — Sun 6th December 2015 @ 4:35 pm

  3. When men arrived at our numerous organisations … (and there were a few, years back, before the arrival of Union of Fathers (UOF), which brought many of these together under one umbrella)… it was because they had a problem.

    The answer was quite simple, work out what the problem was in their mind, the way they saw it, remove that problem, and away they would go again – it wasn’t rocket science, but it wasn’t the State programme.

    There were people that we couldn’t help, but then again it was probably only the generosity of the likes of the Sallies that could.

    Some people stuck around, because the State machinery was determined their problem would continue to exist, in the hope they would eventually wear out and be defeated.

    The indefatigable few.

    This is the same as any other charitable organisation, where there are a few people running the ship, but these organisations were responding to the States perverse behaviour.

    The better we got at defeating the State, the harder it become to get funding.

    UOF was entirely privately funded, and that’s why we made some progress, but it also hurt many of the funding lines of the ‘nicer’ organisations. Quite simply that was a major barrier between UOF and some other men’s groups.

    Some men do not want to live rough. They expect at least the basics. Shelter, food, water, and will resort to violence to defend the principle. Many others just reach a couldn’t care less state.

    Now Julie. Generally men are capable of looking after themselves, although many women would suggest otherwise, on the basis that they are indispensable – seriously you are only indispensable in your own world, that’s why many men are comfortable living rough.

    The difference, as Roger Miller aptly puts it in King of the Road; A man of means, by no means, King of the road, whereas the State funds the man on the street.

    Comment by Downunder — Mon 7th December 2015 @ 9:16 am

  4. UOF was entirely privately funded, and that’s why we made some progress,

    Very important point, that must not be forgotten. I said it above, but not so bluntly and clearly. I think this is one of the most important points to get on top of, if we want to keep moving forward.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Mon 7th December 2015 @ 11:32 am

  5. There is something else that should be noted.

    While those other groups may have had their funding restricted because of UOF activities, there were IRD audits, commercial threats, professional threats, little investigations here and there, not to mention these things being dragged into our Family Court cases as evidence of how unsuitable we were to be parents … ra di ra di ra …

    There was plenty of work, that went into shutting down those funding lines, and plenty of activity across multiple government agencies to shut us down.

    That funding didn’t come easy.

    Comment by Downunder — Mon 7th December 2015 @ 12:01 pm

  6. Hello guys.
    I’ve been out of action for a while due to my having bipolar.
    I lost the plot for awhile and was sent to hospital.
    I also went on the run twice.
    Once I went bush for three days.
    The other I went off in my car with a warrant for my arrest.
    I did stop in Wellington to protest against white ribbon.
    That’s a bonus.
    Anyway I’m on new meds so alls good.
    I’m also lucky to have a understanding partner.

    As for the poor males with mental health problems.
    The hospital is full of them.
    High proportions have kids they hardly see.
    Many of the females with kids have not named the father on the birth certificate.
    Of interest was it was made clear my treatment would be different due to being involved with my kids.

    How can we get statistics to examine these things?

    Comment by DJ Ward — Mon 7th December 2015 @ 12:04 pm

  7. Hi DJ Ward, glad you made it home.
    Welcome back to Menz too.

    Comment by voices back from the bush — Mon 7th December 2015 @ 6:59 pm

  8. Good on you for dealing with it DJ Ward and welcome back!

    Comment by Man X Norton — Mon 7th December 2015 @ 8:22 pm

  9. Dear Downunder, thank you very much for that background. Sounds as though there was a lot that I wasn’t aware of. I strongly believe that these stories need to be told and hopefully in a way that the lessons can be learned (and stay learned too?).

    Thank you for your openness, DJ Ward. Your honesty offers more hope to many parents, than you are probably aware.

    Mental health issues impacts the majority of familycaught$ debacles, which isn’t the impression that most people like to give. Then the familycaught$, instead of constructively guiding parents towards good parenting, picks the flesh off the parents like vultures, when they get the opportunity.

    Guiding would involve giving incentives for acting in good faith and disincentives for acting in bad faith. Too much to ask for from legal workers, as their paramount interest is only in what can be spent.

    MurrayBacon – impulsive insatiable axe-murderer.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 8th December 2015 @ 7:01 am

  10. Mental health issues impacts the majority of familycaught$ debacles, which isn’t the impression that most people like to give. Then the familycaught$, instead of constructively guiding parents towards good parenting, picks the flesh off the parents like vultures, when they get the opportunity.

    It isn’t the impression ‘most people get’ from the bullshit spewed out by the incestuous few legal workers who run the good ship Family Court.

    But you are right, these vultures turn mental health issues into an income. Those people, who most need help don’t get it, and that usually comes at the expense of the father, and the lives of their children.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 8th December 2015 @ 8:17 am

  11. And when you do get to meet the incestuous few, ‘most of them’ are divisive little pieces of shit, that regard their clients as some sort of sub species.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 8th December 2015 @ 8:32 am

  12. Hi DJ Ward

    good to see you back, missed ya posting.
    Stay strong and welcome back

    Comment by Mits — Tue 8th December 2015 @ 11:26 am

  13. Hmmnn, wow, you guys are all amazing for being there, and here for each other.. the real men of NZ support each other in ways that are usually proactive, coaching, teaching, warning, encouraging.. none of this gets done much for fathers..

    Which charities have done work in the past – I am unsure, I know the north shore mens centre group had a bit of funding, but once they got to protesting, plus I think due to a lack of board governance and fundraising expertise, it faded… How Jim Bagnall gave to the group, held the group together is an inspiration..

    Union of Fathers is a network of father support groups, didn’t really like the fact that the Auckland group did the protesting under their banner – I’m not sure how much funding it gets, but the fact that most of that was private is the key…

    whenever a mens/dads group gets going – they probably attract frustrated separating dads first.. this work is essential and the most draining, time consuming and expensive, especially if the support includes legal help or trying to stand up to CYFs, but it also attracts enemies, any slack lawyers or crooked cyfs types will soon organise against the dads group, spread runours of the dads group being a bunch of rabid rock throwing protesters,, the rumours circulate faster than wildfire, and either referrals fall away, the funding dries up, or both. It is a viscious cycle, if you get good, the nasty get worse.

    The only key to surviving is to accentuate the health benefits of the work, to actually encourage good fathers from before birth, distribute guides, support dads through all ranges of fatherhood, traun=ma births, baby loss, PND, solo dads etc.. by not mentioning separating dasd or dads pissed off with cyfs, you may get money.. but you have to have a certified charity with excellent fundraisers, tight admin and good governance, ie keen board members…

    that is my experience and I hope it helps put this discussion on a positive…

    Father and Child has survived and almost thrived, paying several support staff for over ten years, but today, they are being squeezed to death by a combination of factors.. one being their success…

    Comment by realkiwi — Mon 21st December 2015 @ 4:48 pm

  14. one being their success

    Yes. Exactly, it suddenly becomes a bridge over troubled waters.

    Comment by Downunder — Tue 22nd December 2015 @ 6:30 am

  15. #11 Now isn’t that curious, I believe that familycaught$ legal workers look at their clients in the same vein:

    And when you do get to meet the incestuous few, ‘most of them’ are divisive little pieces of shit, that regard their clients as some sort of sub species.

    Our clients are little pieces of shit, that regard us, their lawyers, as some sort of sub species.

    Doesn’t really sound like a functional, good quality, constructive working relationship, for providing good quality customer service……

    About time that we reformed the familycaught$, but this time no sacred cows. Just focus on what is the real job: protecting vulnerable people in all of their shapes and sizes.

    How to best do that, at minimum cost?

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Thu 24th December 2015 @ 8:17 am

  16. Snapshot from the days of UOF:

    The judge was so old, he kept mumbling, then he started dribbling from the corner of his mouth.

    We hadn’t finished, but he didn’t come back from lunch.

    We waited an hour, and then they told us he wasn’t coming back, and we could go.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 24th December 2015 @ 9:56 am

  17. Information is power and now I’m a !@#$ing dictator.

    Comment by http://www./ — Fri 16th December 2016 @ 1:18 am

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