Positive Masculinity

By Andrew Willmott | Posted: Wednesday July 7, 2021

The news has been headlined lately by a number of groups calling for better education around sexual consent and relationships for men and boys due to prevailing offending.

At Otago Boys’ High School we offer several programmes to help better educate around these issues. This is part of our Positive Masculinity approach where hopefully our boys can enhance their physical and emotional strength to champion healthy behaviours and develop more robust communities.

Mates and Dates

The Mates and Dates relationship programme has been running with our Year 10s for several years now. The objectives of the Mates and Dates programme is to teach the boys about healthy relationship skills and behaviours, to help prevent sexual and dating violence. It also teaches these young men how to have relationships based on respect, negotiation and consent. These are skills that they can carry with them throughout their lives. 

Research shows that working with young people is one of the most effective ways of keeping our communities safe. ACC has collaborated with the Ministry of Education and an expert advisory group to ensure the programme aligns with the New Zealand curriculum and is age appropriate. Here, at School, it is taught by specialist violence prevention programme facilitators from Youthline Otago.


Again, at Year 12 we deliver the Loves-Me-Not programme. This is a ‘whole-school approach’ to prevent abusive behaviour in relationships and follows on from some of the themes introduced in Year 10. This programme is run by the New Zealand Police with the support of the Ministry of Social Development. It is based on a student inquiry learning process, where students take action (personal action, effective bystander action and community action) to prevent harm from relationship abuse. Loves-Me-Not is designed specifically for Year 12 students, an appropriate age to discuss relationship abuse and to start to take action for change.

By involving boys in preventative measures such as better education around sexual consent and healthy relationships it is hoped that we can reduce offending in our community.