Andy Sinclair doesn't want the first free welding class he ran in Napier to be his last.
But he wasn't counting on turning up for the second class to find $10,000 worth of welding equipment stolen.
Over the weekend, four Smootharc welders, one single-phase plasma cutter, ten auto-darkening welding helmets, two angle grinders, and three complete tool kits were stolen from a padlocked container outside the Maraenui Rugby Club.
The equipment had been used for the first free welding course Sinclair taught on October 18.
"I've been running a training scheme called 'Intro to Welding', which is a programme where anyone can come on a Monday to have a go at making something, learn to weld and use our tools," Sinclair said.
When he went down to the container on Monday this week, he discovered the padlock was gone and the door wasn't shut properly.
"I opened the door and there it wasn't," he said.
Sinclair said he was devastated by the loss of equipment, most of which was provided by the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT).
His personal toolkit was among the stolen goods.
He said he was gutted by the disrespect shown to himself and other students by whoever took the equipment.
"There's been a lot of effort involved in putting the course into place and caring for the students - from being flexible with times around childcare to seeing if people attending the course needed food parcels.
"We've been doing everything we can to help and ensure that participants get everything they can out of the course. It's been a kick in the guts," he said.
Sinclair, who teaches carpentry and engineering at EIT, began the course last week by teaching students how to make a brazier, and still has plans for basket and cray-pot making in the future.
"I hope to be able to run the course with the support of EIT again next Monday," he said.
"I'm not going to stop the course because of a bad apple or a couple of bad apples. There are too many good people out there struggling that don't deserve to get brought down by the actions of others," he said.
Instead of giving up on the course, Sinclair said he would like to encourage people to participate in initiatives like his.
"There are people around the place that want to help people. I want people to feel able to take that help. There is no loss of mana in asking for help or in taking it," he said.