9 February 2020

Being Men

Raw, unscripted and authentic – Being Men, New Zealand Rugby’s (NZR) new online video series
Mental Health | Real Stories | Fundraising
Created by filmmaker Sarah Grohnert, in collaboration with NZR’s mental health and wellbeing programme, HeadFirst, and their Respect and Responsibility programme, Te Hurihanga; Being Men explores wellbeing, healthy relationships, and masculinity from the perspective of New Zealand men.

Featuring Kiwi men from all walks of life, the online series includes Sir John Kirwan, HeadFirst Ambassador and former All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder, and current All Blacks Ardie Savea, Anton Lienert-Brown and Angus Ta’avao at their most vulnerable, as they reflect on the environments and relationships that have shaped them.

NZR Education and Wellbeing Manager, Dr Nathan Price, who leads the Headfirst programme, said it was powerful to have current players and influential members of the wider rugby community involved.

“Our players are seen as role models, so, when they’re vulnerable and open up about their personal experiences, or the challenges they’ve faced, it hits home.

“We’re so grateful to the guys for being so authentic, and we’re hoping these videos will help normalise talking about topics like mental health and relationships.”

Respect & Responsibility Project Manager, Eleanor Butterworth, said that while lasting change happens slowly, she has seen first-hand the impact rugby can have in sparking positive change in the community.

“Rugby is in every New Zealand community and it’s a big part of many people’s lives. If people can relate to these videos, or are drawn to them because of rugby, then it’s a win-win. This is just another way rugby can play a part in making a positive impact.”

NZR Chief Operating Officer, Nicki Nicol, said rugby is really committed to creating more respectful and inclusive environments and the video series was a great example of this.

“The creation of the Being Men videos is part of our strategy to positively influence issues that our players, and wider society, are facing. We are proud to share the work we are doing in this space, as we continue to deliver these important programmes.”
As well as being available to view online, the videos will be a valuable learning resource during HeadFirst and Te Hurihanga workshops for professional, contracted and community players.

The full Being Men series can be found at www.headfirst.co.nz/being-men

Being Men cast (in alphabetical order):

Akim Waengler
Angus Ta’avao (All Blacks)
Anton Lienert-Brown (All Blacks)
Ardie Savea (All Blacks)
CJ Donaldson
Du'Plessis Kirifi (Hurricanes)
Ian Leaupepe
Jack Kirifi (retired rugby player)
Sir. John Kirwan (Former All Black)
Josiah Tualamali'I
Kurt Baker (All Black Sevens)
Louis Kereopa
Mark Ranby (Former All Black)
Michael Collins (Highlanders)
Nehe Milner-Skudder (Former All Black)
Scott Douglas
Tiaan Falcon (Chiefs)

About HeadFirst

HeadFirst is NZR’s mental health and wellbeing programme. Launched in March 2017, HeadFirst aims to increase awareness of mental health and wellbeing within rugby and challenge the stigmas associated with talking about it, particularly amongst young men. The programme is delivered via face-to-face workshops to professional and community players, and tools and resources can be accessed via the website - www.HeadFirst.co.nz. In September 2018, Movember Foundation came on board as a funding partner, allowing the expansion of the programme into community and school environments.
About Te Hurihanga

NZR’s Respect and Responsibility programme provides professional and community rugby players, staff and rugby volunteers with education and training on healthy relationships and harm prevention. The ACC funded programme launched in 2016, and aims to build supportive environments within rugby to positively shift attitudes and behaviour around issues including domestic violence, child protection, sexual assault, consent and bystander responsibility.