Popular Christchurch barber closing business to work on new venture

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 17, 2023 |

Barber Mataio (Matt) Faafetai Malietoa Brown closing is business to focus on new venture Photo: Credit Jared Yeoward

A popular Christchurch barber has decided to close down the business to focus on a new project.

My Father’s Barbers is considered one of the best and most popular barber shops in Christchurch.

Barber Mataio (Matt) Faafetai Malietoa Brown, who gained recognition for his anti-violence movement, made the announcement last week.

“To many this could come as a shock, but to the few who know, closing My Fathers Barbers has been a kōrero my wife and I have had over the past two years.”

”Being a business owner has definitely had many ups and downs over the last decade, but I wouldn’t change a thing about this season of my life as I have been gifted lessons that I will carry with me the rest of my days.” he said.

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“For many MFB was the place where they met their first legit barber. For many it became a monthly or even weekly tradition with their sons, fathers or siblings. For many it was the first official urban barbershop in this city that delivered good fades. And to many this place became the barbershop where men came for healing (barbers included).”

“I’m reminded of the many sacred moments this barbershop has gifted me and how much of an honour it has been to service this city.”

”The heartbreaking stories of suffering and loss of loved ones through the earthquakes, the mosque shootings, a pandemic, to the loss of clients to violence, cancer and suicide.
No story ever shocks me anymore but the truth is that the vulnerability of your stories always brings me to my knees in humility.”

“I thank each of you humbly for gifting me with your pain, your struggles, your stories and your hearts.”

Matt Brown co-authored a book, She Is Not Your Rehab, with his wife Sarah, a creative producer.

“I’m reminded of a young 16-year-old boy who disclosed to me he was suicidal because he felt like a failure for not making it into the first 15 of his high school rugby team. Seeing my barbers gather around him and haka to him as he and his mother stood there crying will always stay with me. This sacred moment I believe changed the trajectory of this dear boy’s life.”

”The stories of hope and kindness and witnessing our communities come together when crisis was present is something that’ll stay with me forever. The group therapy sessions held. The talanoa. The redemption witnessed.”

”There have been hard moments, sad moments and moments where I wondered how I would get through. I don’t want to minimise the journey of being a business owner either and struggling to cover huge overheads through the pandemic without a dollar of income coming in. Post Covid, business has been challenging for so many of us and I deeply appreciate the continued loyalty and patronage of our beautiful clients.”

”When I think of leadership, I’ve always tried my best to adhere to our Sāmoan adage ‘O le ala i le pule o le tautua’ meaning ‘The pathway to leadership is through service’. Barbering has always been a vehicle of service for me. My barbershop is not just a business, but a community and a kaupapa.”

”And now that vehicle is changing, but this story evolves as I devote my days still to the kaupapa and the community via She Is Not Your Rehab in efforts to make wider impact and the tools of healing for tāne everywhere more accessible.”

Next month, Matt will launch a men’s mental health app called INNERBOY (@innerboy.nz).

He said it’s been in development for the past two and a half years.

Matt said “on Saturday 29th April at 5pm, I will conclude this season with cutting the hair of my eight-year-old son Angelou, who was in his Mother’s belly on our opening night.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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