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2023 Year in review

By Ryan Astle

2023 saw us launch the BetterMan movement. It's been a bit of a whirlwind but here are a few of the highlights:

Todd, Ged and I decided we wanted to start a movement around men’s mental health in New Zealand and helping men become better versions of themselves.

Talked to Liv Murphy and Michael Green from Lads without Labels and got inspired about the amazing things they’re doing at the University of Canterbury.

Locked in a date to run our first event Quiz and Some Other Shizz which forced us to put one foot in front of the other to get sh!t done.

In 2019 we’d built the brand The Bro Code, then life happened including the Covid pandemic so we never launched it. Decided to pivot from that name and created the BetterMan brand.

Applied for, and were successful in getting grants from the Christchurch Casino Trust and the Ministry of Social Development. Massive thanks to both organisations - especially Alex Ness, Teresa Pomeroy and the social action team at MSD.

Got articles in The Star, The Press and on More FM. We’re truly grateful to Briar Allen, Tatiana Gibbs, and Adam Percival for the positive coverage.

Packed out the Halswell Rugby League club with 180 people to attend Quiz and Some Other Shizz that was emceed by the very talented Scotty Stevenson. His balance of humour and vulnerability was perfect and reflects what we’re trying to do in this space.

Subsequently Scotty agreed to be patron of our organisation.

We raised $1200 from the quiz for I Am Hope and were fortunate enough to meet Mike King and his wife Jo to donate them the funds and loved the opportunity to chat with and gather advice from them.

Local law firm Lane Neave agreed to help us write up our charitable trust deed and surprised us by offering it pro bono. Ged subsequently high fived their partner across the boardroom table.

The deed was submitted to Charities Services in late September and typically takes 12 weeks so we’re hoping to hear back shortly.

To look all professional and swanky we got head shots by the talented Angela Jones. (Including the photo shown above)

We’ve compiled a stellar board comprised of David Wakefield, Jason Wills, Lizzie Scott, and Tarina Stephens who bring a range of different skills.

The one big hole we had was accounting skills so it was an absolute blessing when Dave Jessep (chartered accountant) reached out to us asking if we’d like some help. We almost bit his hand off saying yes.

For our second event BetterHalf, aimed at improving the relationship with our significant others, we packed out Earl restaurant with 70+ people. The men all nailed their homework they were given and the band Porter Duo’s cover version of George Ogilvie’s BetterMan still gives me shivers up my spine.

Todd and Ged spoke at the Lads without Labels event Run 72, we ran a few laps and met Fraser Callaway and Chris Flack from Strategy Creative and have since had them do some work for us (along with the talented Matt Innes).

We attended the Changemakers Hui run by MSD in Wellington where we met some incredible people, shared our story and learnt so much from others.

Todd and Ged front footed the BetterMan Blitz - an initiative along with Sarah and Cole McConchie from Blitz Fitness around movement, vitality and wellbeing.

Got invaluable mentorship/advice from Steve Wakefield, Colleen Bardsley, David Lindsay, Kaila Colbin, and Chelsea Lane among others.

Ged spoke on James Marshall’s podcast What a Lad, mainly about the athlete transition course that he and Todd have pulled together alongside Kim Tay from Wellbeing Works. This drummed up a lot of interest.

I’m probably missing a bunch of stuff, so in summary - we learnt loads, had a bunch of fun and made some amazing connections with people who have been so supportive.

There’ve been many a late night, but generally though, I think BetterMan is making me a… better man, my fizz levels for all other areas of life have increased and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

Happy New Years everyone. Here’s to a cracking 2024.




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