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International Men’s Day – Kiwi style

With special guests:

  • Donald Pettitt
  • Iain Fergusson
    … in conversation with Bill Kable

New Zealand is known for many things including a world champion rugby team and a young charismatic Prime Minister.

The most recent way the country has distinguished itself is by joining the world wide movement to celebrate their men and boys on International Men’s Day through the initiative of our guests today, Donald Pettitt and Iain Fergusson.

The movement is based in Christchurch, a city that still bears the scars of the massive earthquake in 2011. This major catastrophe has had an impact on the lives of people in the Canterbury region but the strength of the locals has been revealed as the city has emerged again from the ruins. Many have experienced the quiet strength of New Zealand males over this period.

Donald and Iain want to hear some stories about the men who have earned respect in the lives of the Christchurch residents so they organised an event called A Cuppa in the Square with the best story winning a prize. Participants were invited to tell the story of a man they respect for whatever reason by writing it down on a card in Cathedral Square while they enjoyed a free cup of tea. Some of the stories that have emerged are inspirational and they can be seen on the website at

Other activities included a biker ride for three hours around the city. Everyone was welcome to join the group at CMG Motorcycles. The key to all events was that everyone is welcome. Donald and Iain stressed the inclusiveness of all events, men, boys, women, the LGBTQI community in fact all communities and even those who do not understand why there needs to be an international men’s day at all. The message is very positive and we are sure the event will grow in importance from this bright start.

Donald Petitt

Donald is a Registered Social Worker and has been the CEO of the Canterbury Men’s Centre since they started 11 years ago. Donald in his role has supported the development of a large number of men’s sheds in the region, created a large counselling and social work support service for men, and advocated and supported Kiwi men in many ways. The most recent development at the centre was a merger with the local male survivors of sexual abuse service. Donald has personally supported over 1,000 men at a sensitive time in their lives in his role and learned a lot in the process.

Iain Fergusson

Iain is a professional photographer who taught himself photography by taking 40,000 portraits on the street. Iain has long been an advocate for men’s human rights. This year he submitted a shadow report to the UN for New Zealand’s universal periodic review of human rights. In his spare time Iain has been practising Wing Chun Kung Fu for nearly 10 years.

Song selection by our guests: Donald: Telling Stories by Greg Brown & Iain: Divisionary (Do the Right Thing) by Ages and Ages

Listen Now (mp3)

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