7000 golf balls hit in 24-hour charity drive

Job done.

As the clock struck 4pm on Friday, one final drive at the Frankton Golf Centre signalled the end of a mammoth day for Queenstown resident Blair Pattinson and Fletcher Kaan, of Dunedin, who, between them, hit about 7000 golf balls in the preceding 24 hours.

Mr Pattinson — who escaped with just one blister on a hand — managed to sink two holes-in-one, while Mr Kaan got one; a separate hole-in-one competition ran by the pair on Friday was won by Simon Boland, of Queenstown.

Along the way, they raised money for — and the profile of — MATES in Construction, a charity focused on assisting with mental wellbeing and suicide prevention in the construction industry.

Mr Kaan, MATES in Construction’s southern field officer, said the charity started in Queensland in 2008 and expanded into New Zealand in 2020.

Its goal was to combat the horrific statistics within the industry in New Zealand.

"Construction, unfortunately, in the last seven, nearly eight years now, has been the top out of all industries in New Zealand for suicides."

Blair Pattinson, of Queenstown (left), and Fletcher Kaan, of Dunedin, compete in the 24-hour golf...
Blair Pattinson, of Queenstown (left), and Fletcher Kaan, of Dunedin, compete in the 24-hour golf challenge at the Frankton Golf Centre. PHOTO: RHYVA VAN ONSELEN
While the industry was heavily male-dominated — men made up about 97% — "in our industry, we’re losing 98% males", he said.

"Our job is not only to raise awareness about what’s going on in the industry, but the country as a whole.

"What it may look like when our mates may not be having the greatest time of their life, how can we either approach them and start the conversation, or how can I reach out and ask for help to start that conversation?"

Mr Pattinson, a project manager for GJ Gardner Homes, said the pressure within the industry over the past four years, in particular, had been "relentless".

"I’ve never seen anything like it — everything from material delays to manpower issues, then you’re hit with rising interest rates and you couple that with not being able to finish a house in a satisfactory timeframe, it puts pressure on everyone.

"Most builders go into building to have fun, because it’s a fun, outdoor industry, but nobody’s having fun and it just takes a toll on people and unfortunately [for] the people who are vulnerable and susceptible it can [have a far greater impact]."

They had aimed to raise $5000, and he believed the target had been met, if not exceeded, Mr Pattinson said.

Where to get help

Lifeline:  Call 0800543-354 or text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)

Suicide Crisis Helpline:  Call 0508828-865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)

Youth services:  (06) 3555-906

Youthline:  Call 0800376-633 or text 234

What’s Up:  Call 0800942-8787 (11am to 11pm) or webchat (11am to 10.30pm)

Depression helpline:  Call 0800111-757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)

Helpline:  Need to talk? Call or text 1737

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.