Sam Dowdall has been barbering for 12 years both provincially and internationally. Previously owning barbershops in Australia and New Zealand. He is a keen musician, poet, moustache enthusiast, and philosopher. With crisis training from lifeline confidently under his belt, Sam has recently been featured by the NZ herald for his message and has been a speaker at the knowledge cafe for the Tauranga youth development team.

His trusty sidekick Bo Don Barber will be along for this journey. Bo is a loved and intelligent rescue dog. He enjoys long walks on the beach, making new friends and is never fussy at dinner time.

The Barter Barber is a story of trading skills, goods and most importantly time.

We have both shocking and an ever increasing suicide rate in our men, specifically in rural New Zealand and something needs to change. We are looking at sharing prevention strategies at a grassroots level, while also exploring everything that the everyday New Zealand guy is doing to focus on the positive of their day to day. “In my experience barbering overseas, no men I have come across have more trouble expressing themselves than here at home, I find that really troubling”. – Sam Dowdall.

Lifesaving counselling for some men is only found in the barber’s chair. So, we’re trading our way around using the skills I have learnt over the years as a barber to open conversation with New Zealanders from all walks of life. We want to hear your stories. My purpose is to raise funds, raise food & raise familiarity with men’s mental health.

Time is a resource that cannot be bought, borrowed, saved or multiplied. The journey will be sustainable without the exchange of cash. Trade is the ultimate human equaliser and we value every contribution & human being in the same regard.

What I will trade: haircuts, shaves, a listening ear and a smiling, confident professional quality photograph.

In exchange for: Day to day resources such as food or fuel, unique experiences, a story, something handmade or a smile. Anything you can give.

The trader in turn will receive a multi-platform social media tag with their haircut, including a before and after photo.

With over 100 cuts and shaves (and counting) all preparations thus far have been done using only the principle of trading. From internal, external and restoration work on the Bedford & Barbershop to resources and keeping our wheels moving. The power of the people so far is strong and words cannot express how grateful we are for all the support.

Non-essential trades or experiences in the form of vouchers or goods will be auctioned online with all proceeds going towards Lifeline Aotearoa. All non-perishable food will be given to the local food bank. Beyond our travels, a twelve-part documentary series will be cut and distributed featuring the most inspirational, life altering moments of this journey. Doing our best to leave things better than they are.

We are wanting to bring a narrative to an era. We will be recording this entire journey with the goal of producing a Netflix worthy documentary. Whilst travelling we will be recording every shave and every cut using photography, videography and written records. A web series of online documentaries will be produced, region by region, with each media platform following a cohesive narrative.

For the duration of the journey (Approx. 2 years) we will have special people from special places come to spend time with myself and Bo. Local people and their treasures will be there showing us the hidden gems of our beautiful country.