Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Project back on track after mishap with bulldozer

Paul Grenier (left), Kevin Burney and Grant Kerr of Jetstar launch the MenzShed project at its new home in Kaiapoi, near Christchurch.
Paul Grenier (left), Kevin Burney and Grant Kerr of Jetstar launch the MenzShed project at its new home in Kaiapoi, near Christchurch.

A group of retired tradesmen whose large workshop was accidentally bulldozed is celebrating a boost towards a replacement.

The future looked bleak for 26 volunteers at the Kaiapoi arm of MenzShed in Canterbury after their headquarters vanished three months ago.

MenzShed brings men together to share skills and keep each other company. There are 50 centres around the country.

Kaiapoi secretary Frank Overend said their woodwork shed was mistakenly demolished by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority which had gifted the shed to the group last year.

"We were given a workspace the size of a three-car garage from a red-zone house but it was taking us a long time to get consents to move it to another site," Overend said. "One day we turned up and it was gone.

"It later emerged Cera had bulldozed it by accident," he said. "They were very apologetic and got us another one but financially we were struggling to get it up and running properly at the new site."

This week, airline Jetstar stepped in with a $30,000 grant.

"We will now be able to undertake a lot more work for people locally," Overend said. "We are very grateful to Jetstar for the generous gesture."

Head of Jetstar New Zealand Grant Kerr said he was impressed with the MenzShed service.

"MenzShed contributes to all ages of the community," Kerr said. The Herald on Sunday is a partner with Jetstar on the Flying Start programme.

- Herald on Sunday

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