How a single letter started a national conversation about men’s health.

The Right to Grow

New Zealand has the highest rate of male youth suicide in the world. And those most at risk weren’t being allowed to talk about it. We wrote an open letter that appeared in national newspapers, and sent copies of it to schools nationwide requesting that, for the first time in history, they suspend their clean-shave policies and allow schoolboys participate in Movember.


We got a record number of signups from young men, a record number of donations, and made national headlines. But most importantly, we started a national conversation about men’s health. All with the cost of a postage stamp.



The Open Letter

An open letter appeared in national newspapers and started the conversation.

BCF Dentsu

Read the letter below. (If you like bigger type.)

To the 178 New Zealand schools with a clean-shaven policy,


We are writing to you today, because we need your help.


We believe you have the power to help save young men’s lives with one simple act:


Make an exemption to your school rules, and let your students grow moustaches for a month. 


This November, men across New Zealand will be growing mos to show their support for men’s health and wellbeing. But many young men at school are not allowed to participate because of rules which prohibit the growth of facial hair.


This isn’t about giving your students the chance to look cool, it’s about starting a conversation.


Women are encouraged from a young age to be open about their feelings. But for men, there’s an expectation that talking about their health is some sort of weakness, that they should just ‘man up’.


As a result, we’re losing many of them far too young. New Zealand has the highest rate of male youth suicide in the world.


We have to get young men talking to each other, and their refusal to do so is, in many ways, more toxic than any disease.


That’s why Movember exists. For the month of November, men sport moustaches for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, suicide awareness, and other health issues affecting men. These hairy badges are a way for men to open up conversations and inspire change in their own, uniquely male, way.


Allowing students at your school to participate in Movember is an incredible opportunity to get young men, together as one, talking about issues that are affecting their lives, and creating some real change. 


You can give them the chance to grow, not just a moustache, but a healthy mindset.

Let’s get them wearing moustaches on the sports field, in the classrooms, the corridors, and facing each other man to man, mo to mo, to change the face of men’s health.

Good chat. Talk soon.


Robert Dunne

The Movember Foundation

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