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Buller Men’s Health & Wellbeing:  Adapting positively to a changed reality

Friday 8 October 2021Health news3 minutes to read

The July 2021 flooding event in Buller came at a time when many locals were still dealing with the effects of the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. And then a further lockdown in 2021 has added more complications and stress.

Recognising that these events will have impacted on men’s health and wellbeing, a number of community organisations have been working on ways to help men through. 

One of the organisers, counsellor Bernard Smith says men are great at stepping up to help others in times of crisis like the flooding, “but we are not always so on to it in terms of stepping up and looking after ourselves!”

“Over the years I’ve heard all sorts of ‘a-ha’ moments from men I’ve counselled who realise they cannot be the best partner or dad if they don’t focus on their own health and wellbeing first,” he says.

A couple of typical comments from Bernard’s clients:

“It was a real shock to realise that my son was learning about how to be a man from my behaviour and that my daughter would to some degree be thinking about possible partners or boyfriends based on how I treat their mother. I need to be a better man.”

“When I got the cancer diagnosis I was only 43 and to be told you could be dead in a year, it was a shock and really made me think about my lifestyle, the booze and the job stress had to change.”

“At the moment all the Buller health and wellbeing agencies are seeing a spike in issues to do with men. We’ve pulled together a couple of programmes to try and give men a chance to help themselves,” Mr Smith says.

The first event in the Buller Men’s Health and Wellbeing series, on Tuesday 19 October features: 

  • Craig Scanlon (physical health)
  • Doug Hendrie (mental health)
  • Bede O’Connor (rural men’s health)

Homebuilders West Coast Trust Chief Executive Lorraine Scanlon says men often don’t speak out when they are in situations involving family harm, a job that is not meeting their needs, or an unhealthy relationship.

“The Buller Men’s Health and Wellbeing programme will build awareness, resilience and kindness to be the best we can be,” Lorraine says.

The Buller Men’s Health & Wellbeing series includes presentations mostly by men and for men will take place at the Westport Bridge Club, starting on Tuesday 19 October from 6.30pm to 8pm; and the second in the series on Tuesday 26 October at the same time.  Other events will be organised if there’s a need/demand.

Each evening will include two or three speakers, a panel discussion, and shared food and beverages (non-alcoholic). 

Any women who wish to attend are welcome, but are asked to bring a man with them.

A Kawatiri Men’s Health Group is also being set up to follow the presentation series, to provide regular facilitated meetings for men in the Buller community.

Organisations behind the initiative include Homebuilders West Coast, the West Coast DHB, Kawatiri Family Harm Prevention, the Rural Support Trust, the Buller District Council Recovery office, Te Hā O Kawatiri, No 37 Community House, and many others.

Register for the Buller Men’s Health & Wellbeing presentations at:, phone 027 644 0523.

For updated information about the presentations and speakers, visit



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Page last updated: 9 October 2021

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