MATT + SARAH BROWN MNZM
Taimalelagi Mataio Faafetai (Matt) Brown, is a New Zealand born Samoan author and renowned communicator who works to eradicate domestic violence by supporting those who perpetrate violence, to heal. A survivor of family violence and childhood sexual abuse himself, he originally started his domestic violence advocacy work by sharing his story with the men who frequented his busy barbershops as a way to foster vulnerability, healing, and connection. Matt believes his true calling lies in his work to redefine societies view of masculinity and to help end the cycle of domestic violence plaguing families all over the world.
For over a decade Matt has hosted free men’s anti-violence support groups from locations like barbershops, construction sites, gang pads, prisons and in indigenous spaces. He has facilitated multiple programs inside men’s and youth prisons and was named a Corrections NZ patron in 2020.
A New Zealand Māori (Ngāpuhi/Te Rarawa) wāhine, Sarah is a writer and producer who is passionate about the mandate of ‘creating violence free communities’ and has worked alongside Matt to tell re-define the way we communicate about family violence with creativity and innovation.
Since 2018, Matt and Sarah have partnered with the NZ Ministry of Social Development as ambassadors for their ‘It’s not OK Campaign’ and were funded to develop and launch an app; InnerBoy to promote accessible healing for indigenous men. The couple are proud ambassadors for the work of Aviva Families, a family violence service centre in Christchurch, NZ and for MATE; a program that sits within a domestic violence research department in Griffith University in Australia.
Together the couple co-founded She Is Not Your Rehab and launched the concept in Matt’s 2019 TEDx talk. He says the movement is an invitation for men to acknowledge their own childhood trauma and to take responsibility for their healing so that they can transform their pain instead of transmitting it on those around them.
They released their first book; a NZ #1 Bestseller She Is Not Your Rehab, with the goal to encourage intergenerational healing in 2021, also raised funds and donated 10k+ copies of the book to refuges and all NZ prisons, simultaneously launching a successful book club program inside prison. In 2022 they opened the She Is Not Your Rehab art gallery which hosts the exhibition; ‘Who is She?’ in collaboration with Mr G; a renowned NZ artist.
Both Sarah and Matt became members of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2022 and were awarded a Commonwealth Points of Light award by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth before she passed.