When Winston Turipa grew up, life was tough.
Violence and abuse was considered normal but now the Mataura man wants to use his experiences to help other men to turn their lives around.
“I was in a bad place when I was younger. When I needed help it wasn’t there,” he said.
Mr Turipa grew up in the Bay of Plenty. He struggled for many years to overcome his violent, abusive past and control his anger.
He had taken part in anger management training.
When he was at his lowest point, his wife, Karen, suggested he try counselling.
The counselling, coupled with the support of his wife and children, set him on the road to redemption, he said.
Mr Turipa started a Man Up group in Mataura that meets every second Friday night at the Mataura RSA lounge.
The programme for men was developed by Destiny Church but is now run by a separate entity.
Man Up had been established nationwide and globally, Mr Turipa said. The programme aimed to help men overcome challenges they had in their lives by talking about them.
Mr Turipa was keen to set up the programme in Mataura after seeing successful outcomes from men throughout New Zealand posted on multimedia and personal accounts.
The programme was Christian-based and was founded by men, for men with the goal of helping transform them to become better husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, by opening up, not “hardening up”, he said.
“Men from all walks of life throughout the country are coming together in Man Up meetings to support each other by sharing their stories in a safe environment, knowing that their life experiences may inspire others to make changes that benefit their families and their communities and also to bring release and freedom from their own personal struggles,” he said.
The 15-week programme aimed to overcome issues such as family violence, anger, depression, obesity, drug and alcohol addiction and suicide, he said.
“We hope to empower our men to overcome their struggles through open and honest discussion, encouraging our brothers to become the men they were designed and destined to be.”