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What Does It Mean To Be A Modern Man In 2021?

New podcast, He’ll Be Right, seeks to answer this question, by looking at diverse forms of masculinity through the perspectives of an All Black, a model, a reformed abuser, an advocate for trans rights, a professor of tikanga, a popular Māori musician, and others.

Hosted by Stuff’s Glenn McConnell and Bird of Paradise Productions’ John Daniell, the episodes of the six-part series are being released over the next three weeks.

The podcast reveals the complexity of masculinity issues.

“The goalposts have moved so far for men since I was a boy, it isn’t easy to know the right way to be a man today,” says Daniell. “Understanding which of the values we grew up with to hold on to, and which to leave behind can be a real challenge for my generation. I guess what we found is that there is no one right way and there are lots of men grappling with these issues,” says Daniell.

“On one hand this series shows how ingrained traditional views on masculinity are in Aotearoa,” says McConnell. “But equally, we uncover a lot of hope too, through progressive people like Leah Rothman, who speaks to schools about consent, gender and sexuality, as well as younger Kiwis who seem to get the issues and confront them.

“The series is about the culture, the people and lives of Aotearoa,” says McConnell. “I learnt about tikanga and hunting with renowned academic and Tūhoe kaumātua Pou Temara, about Pasifika tattooing with anthropologist Sean Mallon, and how whakapapa helped transgender activist Scout Barbour Evans overcome tribulation.”

“We met people like All Black prop Karl Tu’inukuafe whose lives are full of apparent contradictions and so much more complex than the stereotypes. And there were raw moments too, one interview I suddenly found myself talking about an old rugby mate who killed himself nearly thirty years ago. In another, we talked to Ben, who tries to help men get past the cycle of domestic violence that he’s been through himself,” says Daniell.

Despite the heavy issues covered, a lot of fun was had while producing the series.

“There’s a bit of quiche-shaming although I think Glenn would say that qualifies as a dad joke which I gather means it’s probably on me,” says Daniell.

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