Kaitaia's Menzshed 'all happening now'

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Menzshed Kaitaia president Peter Orr, in his element on Saturday morning.
Menzshed Kaitaia president Peter Orr, in his element on Saturday morning.

It had taken a wee while to begin hitting its straps, but it's all happening at Kaitaia's Menzshed now.

So president Peter Orr said on Saturday. And it was only going to get busier.

Menzsheds involve men who used their skills to benefit community groups, such as Hospice, the retired and the elderly.

In Kaitaia's case they undertake furniture repairs and woodworking projects around the home.

Members' labour was provided free,with the only cost to 'customers' being materials that were not already on hand, or not supplied by the client, and a small koha.

The club had 28 people on its emailing list, with eight or 10 fully signed up, most of them retired builders or cabinet-makers.

Those who wanted to learn new skills as opposed to offering them to others were equally welcome, while donations of tools and/or materials would always be gratefully accepted.

"There must be sheds full of gear that isn't being used all over the place," Mr Orr said.

He pointed to a lathe that had been idle since its owner died seven years ago, which now has pride of place.

He was particularly keen to get more hand tools and a bigger drill press.

"We're going to need a bigger shed one day," he said.

"This one [adjacent to the Toll yard on the northern edge of Kaitaia] will do for a while, but we're hoping to grow out of it."

It wasn't all about keeping noses to the grindstone though, There was a strong social element to the Menzshed movement. Membership cost a modest $20 a year, plus $2 per session to cover costs, including a cup of tea and a biscuit. The shed is open 10am to 2pm on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The 'jobs to be done' list included completing repairs to a table, building a garden seat and a compost bin.

Mr Orr said that he hoped to expand into engineering at some point in the future.

Anyone who might have a job to offer, tools or materials to contribute, or might be interested in joining is welcome to contact him on (021) 0274-0693.

- Northland Age

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