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Brotherhood key to group

Jonas Koukl, originally from Czech Republic, has started a men’s group in Wairarapa. PHOTO/SUPPLIED.


Emily Ireland

Looking at Jonas Koukl, you would assume he has a strong sense of identity.

Confident and worldly, he is most known in Wairarapa for his music co-creation workshops at Aratoi Museum of Art and History where he brings people together with music therapy.

But there was a time when Jonas was unsure of his personal identity – that was before he discovered the magic of men’s groups.

Now, he is introducing his own version to Wairarapa.

Jonas, now 33 and originating from Czech Republic, first experienced Men’s Group when he was 19.

“If I experienced it as a teenager, my life would have been much easier,” he said.

“As a teenager I just wanted to belong somewhere.”

He said he used to change himself to fit in with different subcultures.

“I was good at it, but it was not me.

“I was fulfilling my expectation of their expectations.”

When doing shamanic work, Jonas was given a message that he should be “helping men rise up”.

Two days later, he was contacted by his dad, inviting him to a men’s group.

“There, I experienced that belonging but without being someone else,” he said.

“I was encouraged to talk about me, my fears, things we are encouraged to hide.

“I saw big tough men crying. It was cool and so real.

“I felt that all the men were my brothers.

“We all belong to each other and we have to help each other live a noble live for our wives, partners, and children.”

Last month, he started his own men’s group in Wairarapa.

It is open to any man older than 14 years and the meetings last for half a day.

“Part of our meetings is always connected with some practical physical work currently needed at the venue of the host, and the host is always someone else, so our work will affect not just one house or garden.”

The next meeting is September 16 at Matahiwi Rd, Masterton.

There will be an opportunity to talk, share stories, experiences, share a potluck lunch and also do some physical work on a permaculture garden project.

The day will run from 10am until 5pm at the latest.

“We are meeting with the intention to learn and connect intergenerationally.

“Each of us carries some message for others, there is a wisdom to experience, not depending on the age.”

Jonas said he established Wairarapa Men’s Group because he missed it and was “sure that many others would profit from experiencing it”.

“Many men are missing belonging to something strong and wholesome, finding the vision, deeper purpose, positive mission, and having a clarity of direction.

“I organised many men’s groups in Europe during the past 10 years and I feel very honoured to use my experiences to contribute to the Wairarapa community for the wonderful life my partner and I have here.”

There is no subscription or membership needed or future commitment.


  • If you are interested in attending the September 16 group, email Jonas on [email protected].
  • The next date is October 6-7 in Featherston.
  • For more information, visit www.connecting-music.nz/mens-group-wairarapa.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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