Morning teas have become a whole lot better for retired men in Kerikeri, thanks to a flash new building that has been gifted to the Kerikeri Men's Shed.
About 150 people gathered at the opening of the new shed on Kapiro Rd on Wednesday, including members and their grateful wives, Far North mayor John Carter, members of Dargaville and Whangārei men's sheds, and sponsors.
The purpose-built facility is 540sq m and is fully fitted out with a large woodwork area, separate engineering workshop and a communal area with kitchen.
It was gifted by founding member John Walst and his wife Jillian as a 12-year lease and replaces their old premises, a "dilapidated shed" on State Highway 10 which was only around 100sq m.
The Kerikeri Men's Shed also received a $70,000 infrastructure grant from Far North District Council.
Chairman Kevin Mahoney thanked the "very generous" and significant benefactors of the shed, including the Walsts, the council, local building suppliers and other sponsors.
"Because members are so important to the shed, this will enable us, with the separate areas and lunchroom, to do whatever the members want. If they want to play cards at morning tea they can do that.
"All the extra space gives us many more options."
Men's sheds are places retired men gather to share skills, have a laugh and work on community and personal projects.
Much of the group's work is for charities with the charity supplying the materials and the men doing the work for little or no cost.
They also take on jobs for local businesses and make things to sell, with the proceeds going into the kitty for new tools and machinery.
The Kerikeri shed was established in 2015 and has grown to accommodate 75 members.
They moved into their new building in early 2020 but the official opening was delayed due to Covid-19.
Mayor John Carter congratulated the men on their new building, and for the "tremendous contribution" they make to the community.
"The men's shed represents what our nation used to be like 20 to 30 years ago, and sadly this is disappearing," he said.
"That's why I wanted to be here to acknowledge we still have people in our community that remember the most important thing we can do for the community is give to it."
Secretary Wade Rowsell said the shed also helped with men's mental health by developing a strong sense of camaraderie and support.
"It's about giving the guys the opportunity to talk to each other and form friendships," he said.
"It's really nice to create an opportunity for men to get together socially and build things for the community. The most important part of our day is morning tea."
The Kerikeri Men's Shed is open Monday to Friday from 9am to midday.
If you'd like to join or find out more visit www.menzshed.org.nz/kerikeri or phone 09 407 8263.