Man Up working with fathers to change families

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Former Mongrel Mob member Toko Koopu says the Man Up programme, which strengthens men to become better fathers, husbands, and leaders in the home and community has not only changed him but given him a chance to improve other's lives.

It's a brotherhood and a bond that goes deeper than the skin.

Former gang member Toko Koopu says he will never turn back. 

"I was institutionalised at 12 right through to 53-54 when I saw the light.  I started making some serious changes in my life...and now I'm able to nurture and sustain and share the ingredients- that not only includes the physical elements but the transmission of values centered around the Man Up movement."

The programme mixes prayer with conversation and a 24-hour helpline. 

For Man Up director Caine Warren, it's about the growth of the family. 

"The saying is true, what walks in the fathers, runs in the sons...It doesn't matter how deep and dark their dysfunction has been there is still hope for a better day."

From the top of the north to the south and even in Australia, it has become a movement.

"It's reaching people on the ground so they have the opportunity to experience life-changing experiences through Man Up" says Warren. 

Destiny Church pastor and 'Man Up Māmā', Hannah Tāmaki says it's always a good thing if you're helping someone else. 

"If you can show someone else that you care, one person at a time, one heart at a time, then we can make a difference and isn't that what we want to do?  Make a difference to someone's life?"

Man Up heads to Hastings tomorrow where they will meet with the community and local gang to forge a way forward for families.