Drive to stop suffering in silence

3 minutes read
Posted 12 February, 2024
Screenshot 2024 02 12 094913

Christian Jones, Blair Pattinson, Jordan Manihera and Fletcher Kaan at Frankton Golf Centre

Seven thousand golf shots, four holes-in-one and more than $6000 raised for charity - it's incredible what you can do in 24 hours with some support from your mates.

Queenstowner Blair Pattinson went around the clock at Frankton Golf Centre last week, hitting golf balls from 4pm Thursday to 4pm Friday.

But this was never going to be a lonely long night of the soul for the GJ Gardener project manager.

"We've had people coming down throughout the night and it's been one ball after the other," Pattinson says, as the dawn broke over the Wakatipu Basin on Friday.

"There's been so much support, donations, text messages, people offering to bring food, we couldn't have asked for more."

Three other golfers saw the sunrise with Pattinson, including Fletcher Kaan, southern field officer for MATES in Construction, all in high spirits as they hit shots towards the iconic Remarkables mountain range.

MATES in Construction aims to prevent suicides in the industry and improve mental health, by encouraging workers to talk about their problems.

Pattinson experienced some burnout last year and, after some advice, took up golf as a good way to destress from work before going home to his family. So, he decided to raise some funds to support the charity, which he sees making a difference.

"It's catching on. The industry can be very stressful and the worse thing you can do is keep it all bottled up," he says.

"There's enough people now in Queenstown who have taken their own life, that people are starting to talk others about how they're doing. It's not just a thing that blokes don't talk about anymore."

Throughout Friday, dozens of friends, family and people from Queenstown's construction industry turned up to have a crack at the hole-in-one shot, with a pin 70m away. Kelvin Heights' Simon Boland sank one, winning the comp.

Blair Pattinson swinging into the sunrise

Pattinson hit two himself and reckons he hit around 2000 shots over the 24 hours, with supporters hitting another 5000.

"My golf definitely went downhill as the day went along," Pattinson says, after the event. "The body just didn't want to rotate, so there was a lot of compensation going on.

"But if I come up short on the golf course and it's 70 metres to the pin, I'll hopefully get it right."

Shoulders, lower back and wrists bore the brunt. "It was worth it and I'm absolutely stoked with how much we raised."

Fletcher Kaan was on the driving range with Pattinson for the whole 24 hours.

"My first thought was it sounds like a lot of fun, but would be bloody difficult to do it by yourself, so I decided to keep him company," Kaan says.

Construction has the highest rate of suicide of any industry, representing about 10%, and NZ is in the top 10 internationally for suicides per capita.

"Something that's been systemically just forced upon people for a very long time is 'don't talk about it, harden up, boys don't cry'," Kaan says. "I tell you right now from personal experience, that's a pretty big lie.

"Looking after the lower South Island, everybody's the big strong Southern man, until they're not. And the more you try and hide it, the worse it makes it.

"So our job is to really encourage people to talk about their problems."

It hosts breakfasts and other events throughout the South Island, to build communities for construction industry workers.

"I liken mental well being and suicide prevention to any job onsite. If you don't know how to do a job, how do you know how to fix it?"

Donations are still open at



1737 Need to talk, Freecall or text 1737, 24/7, for support from trained counsellors.

Depression: P: 0800 111757 Free text 4202 |

Suicide Crisis Helpline: P: 0508 828 865 |

The Lowdown: P: 0800 111 757 / Free text 5626 |

Youthline: P: 0800 376 633 | Free text 234 |

Family Violence: P: 0800 456 450 |

Alcohol Drug Helpline: P: 0800 787 797  / Free text 8681

Women’s Refuge: P: 0800 733 843 |

Sexuality issues: 0800 688 5463 between 6pm & 9pm |

Southern DHB: Crisis Mental Health Service: 0800 467 846

Wanaka Mental Health Peer Support Group:

Your Life Live It: |


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