Great Fathers – a changemaker story

About This Project

In 2008 BAF partnered with local changemaker, Dave Owens and his vision for Great Fathers – a national initiative intent on providing information and encouragement for men to engage and bond with their infant.

Dave had been evolving the concept of Great Fathers but had no legal structure, which made fund raising impossible.  BAF’s partnership provided an administrative base that allowed Dave to build relationships with service providers and funders and to develop resources and explore avenues of distribution. The partnership allowed Dave to be a passionate and effective changemaker knowing that the backbone supports his initiative needed were being provided by BAF.  Dave commented that “the partnership with the Bishops Action Foundation worked really well. We shared important philosophical perspectives and values – and together we had a great combination of skills, talent, resources and contacts which complemented each other’s work. I found it a very useful and comfortable fit.”

With BAF’s support, Dave developed high quality father-focused resources that has become valued and used by a wide variety of mainstream parenting focused projects. The Todd Foundation recognised  the value in the initiative and began to support Great Fathers through a long-term peer-based support programme.

One of the first resources Dave created was In Your Hands, a 28-minute video accompanied by an album of father/child themed music created by New Zealand artists including Tiki Tane and Warren Maxwell. This DVD package was designed by fathers in a format that would appeal to fathers and encourage and inspire them to take an active role with their baby.

In Your Hands was the first of a range of exciting resource created by Great Fathers to create common awareness among New Zealand men that being a dad is potentially one of the most enduring and rewarding activities a man ever engages in; and to ensure they understood that being a conscious, nurturing dad is important to the balanced development of their child.

In late 2011, Dave registered Great Fathers as a fully constituted charitable trust that was capable of its own fundraising and accountability. It was a natural time to part ways with BAF, but CEO, Simon Cayley, kindly agreed to be a trustee over its first independent year. For Dave “the early partnership with BAF was very helpful. Simon applied on our behalf and got our first grant! Then BAF managed the money, which left me free to develop relationships and resources.”

Over the years, Great Fathers became Great Fathers Mana Matua Trust with a full suite of original resources, and continues to develop others that are available in the New Dad’s Toolbox at

We are proud to have supported Dave over the early years and congratulate Great Fathers Mana Matua on the significant outcomes they continue to achieve for children through their fathers across Aotearoa.

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