The owner of a minuscule art gallery on Wellington's Cuba Street is trading free art for spare sanitary products in an effort to put together care packages for people living on the streets.

Benji Hinch, 28, owns The Tiny Giant art gallery, which started as a pop-up shop tucked away beside a massage parlour, but is now about to become an official charity.

Hinch watched a video recently showing the plight of women trying to deal with periods while living rough, and realised he was in the perfect place to lend a hand, despite "not having had a period" himself.

Being in the middle of the city, Hinch realised he could put together the care packages of sanitary items and either distribute them to people in need, or keep them in a box at the door of the gallery for people to come and pick up with no questions asked. The products were for anyone who needed them and couldn't easily afford them, whether they had a roof over their heads or not.


"I have this space right in the middle of town that I can just give out tampons from," he said.

He wanted to create some type of pick-up box that women could access when the gallery was closed, but was not sure yet how to make it secure to avoid people tampering with it or "drunk guys pissing in it".

"This is just meant to help people, not give them toxic shock syndrome," he said.

Hinch put a call out online inviting people to bring in any spare sanitary items they had, in exchange for a free piece of art.

The response had taken him by surprise, and he had already had numerous donation offers.

"One girl came in with a mountain of condoms before," he said.

Hinch wanted people to be able to come in and grab what they needed with "as little breach of privacy as possible for people who already have so little privacy".

He also didn't want women who were "hormonal and stressed" to have to walk to his gallery if they were in discomfort, so was calling for other women who wanted to volunteer to hand packages out on the streets. Hinch said he would do it himself but did not want to make anyone uncomfortable.

"Having not had a period myself, I can understand why people would look at that and say 'what's going on here?'"

He expected he might get varied reactions from women if they had a "privileged, white male come up and say 'hey, come and grab some tampons from my store,'" and was concerned they might see it as "some kind of weird, gross lure".

Hinch is at The Tiny Giant Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am-11pm on and off, when he is not working as a busker.

The gallery is nestled into the side of 134 Cuba St and can be found near Espressoholic.

The Tiny Giant runs as a not-for-profit charity, allowing artists to exhibit their work for a small flat rate and get 100 per cent of the sales profit.

Hinch encouraged anyone with sanitary products to drop them off, as well as old handbags the products could be put in for a "plain packaging" approach. Anyone wanting to help out in any way could pay him a visit, and anyone needing sanitary products could come in and get them without any judgment or questions.