Sam Dowdall

Spokesperson and real world empathist

Sam 2-720

Sam don Barter Barber wants his fellow Kiwis to support each other with keeping the economy alive. To take a task, rather than ranting on an inconsequential social media site. Be brave enough to vocalise your weaknesses and ask for help and encouragement. Take a step as opposed to a stand.

His endeavours as the Barter Barber have inspired and supported real people with issues, in communities that few local politicians would ever be able to reach, let alone touch, tussle or trim.

Mobile homes are commonplace in New Zealand and Sam has bartered his way to owning a few of them. They are an essential tool in his tours of the country that he uses to provide free hair cutting as a barber in return for discussing male mental health and the triggers of suicide. The outcomes of his endeavours are well documented in national media: there isn’t a data analyst who could quantify the number of lives he has already saved.

His home, endearingly named Mad Max, has a repurposed tank engine. Give this man a camping knife, a two-by-four and a partially bent hairpin and, well, trust me, the outcome will never disappoint.

Bartering came naturally to Sam. Teaching it to others is challenging; there are many people who abuse the generosity of strangers. Caution is foremost in his mind and being part of creating a platform that ensures those who wish to barter can do so safely, is something he wants his team of five million to embrace.

There is nothing that doesn’t hold value: one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure. Latent time and skills are simply untapped assets and resources.

While Sam might not have frequented every nook and cranny on this little planet, he has definitely embraced people from every walk of life, religion and culture. He is truly loved by communities both on and offline, but most of all by his compassionate fur-buddy and business partner, Bobo.

As an open-minded empath, he listens twice as much as he talks. Which figures, right? We were all given two ears and one mouth. Reach out to him: if he can’t help you, then he definitely knows someone who can. And they probably owe him a favour or two so, as they say in Aotearoa: you’ll be right!

Meet the rest of the team

You might find you don’t need to ask too many questions about where they’re from – where they’re going and whether you’re going with them is much more interesting.

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