With cheap consumables a mainstay of modern life and landfills full of non-biodegradable items, people who are conscientious about the environment - as well as their wallets - are starting to push back with ideas to make a change.

One such idea is repair cafes, where community members with the skills to fix things and people with broken items of all sorts meet up to socialise and mend them, keeping them out of landfill and giving them a new lease of life - as well as sharing their DIY skills.

Some even see the act of choosing to repair items as a form of rebellion against a consumer culture where manufacturers actively discourage or scare people away from fixing items in order to make them simply buy a new one.

Items such as household appliances, computers, bicycles, mechanical devices and clothing are among the items that are typically taken to repair cafe meetings, which are often held as a regular pop-up event in a local community hall or facility.


Repair cafes have been running successfully in many communities around the world, with some Levin locals now putting out the call on social media to start one up in Horowhenua.

One such voice is that of Judy Webby, who wants to see the concept run in the area with the support of community and the council.

Webby said she realised Horowhenua could benefit from the idea when she saw a post on a local social media page where someone was asking for recommendations for an electrician to replace a plug on an appliance.

"I was amazed that was a skill that has been lost," she said." "It would be great to have something running once every month or two."

Webby said an initiative in Paekakariki was working well with locals attending a pop-up repair cafe on certain regular days.

She said she had approached Menzshed in Levin and was waiting to hear back from them about potential interest, and that she would need to work in conjunction with others to get the idea off the ground.

"Horowhenua has a higher than average population of people over 65 and I'm sure a lot of those people have skills they'd be happy to share," she said.

She said it was likely people in that demographic may not even realise that many other people did not know how to carry out basic repairs or have basic mending skills.


The idea of a repair cafe would also fit in well with the district council's programme of waste reduction initiatives and she planned to approach the organisation to seek assistance with the project.

Anyone interested in being involved can contact Judy Webby on 027 271 7192 or email judy@askjudy.co.nz