Male Room Inc and the evolution of Whare Haumaru

Last updated 11 September 2022

The transition to the name “Male Room” occurred in 2011 in recognition of the increasing number of men seeking help with parenting issues or separations in their private lives. 

Male Room was, and remains, the only organisation specifically set up to support males and their families in Nelson, with clientele mainly from lower socio-economic circumstances. There were already a number of facilities and organisations devoted to support of women.

Philip Chapman, Director says  

“The inquiries around getting help often come from women, a wife, a partner or a close relative. Men take longer to acknowledge their problems."

Some required more dedicated forms of counselling, including crisis intervention and dealing with substance or behavioural addictions. 

"By 2013, we were dealing with an increased number of cases relating to male childhood sexual and physical  abuse. As  a result of  the growth in numbers seeking help and the complexity  of situations we deal with, we have progressively brought in further qualified counsellors.”

Today for Nelson


People helped with separation and court support cases


General counselling support sessions for males per annum


Staff members



Of the five counsellors, four are full time, and one of the staff members is paid for under a partnership with Housing First administered by the Salvation Army.


Centres in total across the Top of the South have support services in place under the Male Room Model


Group sessions as support for survivors of sexual abuse


Sessions of one on one specialist support provided to survivors of sexual abuse

The work done by the Male Room has also expanded to cover the top of the South with contracted services now in place in Motueka, Blenheim and the West Coast.

The available statistics are alarming:

An estimated one in six males are sexually abused. This compares to one in three females, though with men, its more predominantly in childhood whereas for women, this is not as skewed towards childhood, with a significant proportion occurring as adults.

  • One in three victims of family violence are male
  • Emotional abuse in the family is 50:50 male to female
  • Of males who are abused, 62% are under psychiatric care           
  • More than 65% of male prison inmates are also victims of childhood molestation and/or violence.

Leading up to 2019, the Male Room started supporting the increasing number of homeless on the streets in Nelson by providing them with food and a meeting place for them to check in with each other, Monday to Friday. The support of the homeless, in what was a relatively small facility, dedicated to counselling became increasingly difficult and the Male Room started lobbying partners, including Nelson City Council, to provide further facilities.

“This issue received further attention in early 2020 when the council put a temporary building in place for the use of freedom campers at a time when there was no dedicated facility for the estimated 72 homeless on the streets in Nelson including a small number of women. It then gathered impetus as the covid lockdown highlighted the vulnerability and risk created by homelessness. Though a budget and funding had been prepared with the help of council staff, it was not until Rotary proposed to put in a further $20,000 and to take over the project planning plus management, that Whare Haumaru, providing a day facilities hub, came to fruition.”


Annual daytime visitations of the homeless, including a small number of women requiring support


Nights of temporary accommodation provided

Though a lot of the homeless are now accommodated in motels under the Housing First the role of the Male Room, in providing a day room and support in a safe haven, helps alleviate many the problems arising in other cities.

Gaile and Philip, overseeing the start of the project
The Portacom facilities building being lifted onto the piles
One of a number of working bees completed!
Erecting of posts to support a sail to provide shelter over the Whare Haumaru Deck

Rotary Nelson Logo
Club of


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