It was one of the smaller gatherings he had addressed as Mayor, but John Carter was clearly delighted to be part of Sunday's official opening of Kaitaia's Menzshed.

"Good on you for doing this," he said, after chairman Tony Hassan explained that the shed, in a corner of Toll's yard in Kaitaia, would be a place for men to make things together.

"This is a very exciting time," Mr Hassan said, adding that the Menzshed movement had begun in Australia in the 1990s.

Now almost every little town in Australia had one, and the organisations were popping up all around the Far North.


Initially the Kaitaia shed would focus on woodworking, but it was hoped that it would expand into metal work, perhaps even auto and small machine repairs.

"We're starting small, but we have a great vision for the future," he added.

Mr Carter saw the occasion as another sign that Kaitaia was starting to look after itself rather than waiting for someone else to "come and do something." And there as more in the pipeline.

"There are things on the horizon that I'm not allowed to discuss, including something that only six people in New Zealand know about, something that this will become part of," he said.

"It's already been suggested that this Menzshed should link up with Hospice, repairing some of the goods that are donated to the op shop, and that's the sort of synergy that will get things going.

"It's about getting people out of their houses and into the community, about what's good for tomorrow. And it's fun too."

The Menzshed in Kerikeri was catering for an "enthusiastic bunch, and it's great to see the stuff they do," he added.

"They are using and teaching skills that would otherwise go to waste."


Te Hiku Community Board member David Senior, who relieved Mr Carter of the scissors to officially open the shed, said the board had been very happy to support the project, which Mr Hassan said would initially be open a couple of days each week. A shed supervisor would be appointed, and any men who wanted to use or share their skills, or wanted to learn, would be welcome.

It was hoped to acquire a lockable container to provide more storage space, and community projects would be undertaken, but for the moment the emphasis was on finding active members, equipment and materials.