Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Kiwi dads' Facebook support group takes off

Add a comment
Chris Sio (left) Kelly Solomon, members of Kiwi Daddys Bay of Plenty, say the group has created a place where men can discuss issues without judgment. Photo/George Novak
Chris Sio (left) Kelly Solomon, members of Kiwi Daddys Bay of Plenty, say the group has created a place where men can discuss issues without judgment. Photo/George Novak

Social media has given Kiwi men a space to speak out about personal issues and not be judged.

A Facebook group called Kiwi Daddys is being lauded as the "good gang" - creating a non-judgmental space for dads to come together and discuss issues facing Kiwi men.

Kelly Solomon, a leader of the Bay of Plenty chapter of Kiwi Daddys, said the kaupapa (purpose) of the group was for its members to become better men for themselves, for their families and for their children, which would then extend to the whole community.

Pretty soon, it grew well beyond the Facebook page. Our numbers are at about 60,000 world-wide, just this year.
Chris Sio, Kiwi Daddys leader

"As a group, we want to address issues that as men, we deal with on our own simply through our upbringings that our fathers and fathers' fathers have just dealt with and bottled stuff up.

Part of our aim is to open that up.

"Being part of that Kiwi Daddys platform has allowed us to do that."

Read more: Parents' agony over son's change from hardworking man to murdered P cook

Chris Sio, another of the group's leaders, said the group was originally formed in Australia by two brothers, Tyron Ronald Matoka and Jojo Kalolo.

"They wanted to create a page where Kiwi fathers could relate to each other in terms of uplifting each other, inspiration, education and the likes," Mr Sio said.

"Pretty soon, it grew well beyond the Facebook page. Our numbers are at about 60,000 world-wide, just this year."

The group has grown so large so quickly that smaller, localised groups have formed. The Bay of Plenty group has almost 500 members. Other groups are spread across Australia and New Zealand, as well as in the United Kingdom and United States.

It has become a place where men could share things weighing on their minds and ask advice. Many men did not feel comfortable speaking with professionals who could not understand the context of his problems, so finding a group where men of similar backgrounds and experiences could talk was life changing.

"I don't think anyone would be able to recreate it with any other platform than social media. When men look at an advertisement for a men's support group, they say 'that's not for me'. Now, all of a sudden, there's all these cool, tough men talking about stuff like this."

Mr Sio said some members would be comprehensive in the delivery of their message, while others just say "life is so sh*t" and that was the end of it.

"From that, he will get 1000 comments from people saying what is it, what's wrong brother, I'm here to support you. When you get thousands of people coming at you from that place, it's going to help."

Mr Sio said were often about things a man had seen or experienced, or sometimes it was from a perpetrators point of view.

"In those instances, we've got to be on our game and learn not to judge him."

Mr Solomon said there was trust and camaraderie between members of the group - most of whom had never met each other.

"How many of our young men grow up looking at sports teams or gangs or whatever because of a sense of belonging?"

Kiwi Daddys Bay of Plenty had its first event last month and members took to Tauranga Harbour to pick rubbish up as part of the Clean New Zealand initiative started by Kiri Danielle, who has referred to the Daddys group as "the good gang", Mr Sio said.

Kiwi Daddys working with Ms Danielle on the initiative was a "match made in heaven" Mr Sio said- the dads had the muscle and man power, Ms Danielle had the following.

Kiwi Daddys as an international group is holding a Clean Earth Day on October 1.

"The whole kaupapa is a massive vehicle for us," Mr Sio said. "It is only one component of who we want to be in the community. There are so many other issues that pertain to Kiwi fathers.

"The more we do as men, that will have a roll-on affect for our children, our partners, and for the community in general."

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 04 Dec 2016 04:16:20 Processing Time: 867ms