Young Men Need Good Male Role Models

  • Tony Ryall
Youth Affairs

Young men need good men as role models, Youth Affairs Minister Tony Ryall said at today's launch of the Kawerau Safer Community Council.

"Too many studies of young male offenders show that the majority have no meaningful contact with their father. Often those young men don't know where their fathers are or don't want to have anything to do with them," Mr Ryall said.

Mr Ryall said he was working with the Ministry of Youth Affairs to address the issue of young men at risk and find solutions to youth crime problems in communities around the country.

"Studies show that at least one in four young men commit criminal offences before reaching the age of 25 and almost half of all offenders apprehended by the Police are aged 20 or under.

"There are many theories about raising children, but we all know that if a young man has no male role model to look up to while he's growing up and going through the rites of passage to adulthood then there is a much greater risk that he will go off the rails.

"For many boys the only meaningful contact they have with a role model are male primary school teachers. But at the moment, there's a lack of male primary school teachers ­ they are outnumbered 7 to 1 in the staffroom.

"Mentoring programmes, developed in the US, have proved to be effective in providing role models for teenagers during the years when they are disinclined to listen to their parents, or are in single parent families.

"These programmes are also becoming important in New Zealand and mentoring projects are now underway in Dunedin, Wainuiomata, Manukau and Opotiki here in the Bay of Plenty."