Friendly chatter is mixed with bursts of machinery, the hammering of nails, the sawing of wood.

It's another action-packed time at MenzShed Kāpiti but this day is extra special.

The non-profit charitable organisation celebrated its tenth anniversary today which saw a cake cut at morning tea time to mark the milestone.

The group has come a long way since it started and is now firmly entrenched in the community with a membership of more than 100.

Work time at MenzShed Kapiti. Photo / David Haxton
Work time at MenzShed Kapiti. Photo / David Haxton

"We would never have imagined it would have got to this stage with 50 to 60 guys turning up every Tuesday and Thursday," said Nigel Clough, one of the founding members.

"At the start, eight to 10 people was a good day, and we would be very pleased with that.

"Mind you we were cooking on a gas stove to heat our water and stuff like that.

"Now it's a lot more civilised."

The venture started in mid-2010 when a small group of men put out some flyers at the Waikanae Easter Market in Mahara Place to see if there was any interest in forming a MenzShed.

Twenty-seven men turned up to a meeting, some society application papers were signed and it was "all go from there", said Peter Blackler, another founding member.

Finding a base was difficult but strong support from Kāpiti Coast District Council saw the group lease a 40sq m shed in a corner of the Waikanae Beach works depot in Rangihiroa St.

Two years later the council moved its Waikanae depot operations to a site in Paraparaumu, enabling the club to expand into three large bays.


A tractor shed would later be relocated next to the bays giving even more space.

At present the group, which covers from Pukerua Bay to Peka Peka, is constructing a brand new wheelchair-accessible amenities building which will comprise a large, open meeting space, office, kitchen and toilets, as well as decking area with a covered veranda.

A new building under construction at MenzShed Kapiti. Photo / David Haxton
A new building under construction at MenzShed Kapiti. Photo / David Haxton

"It's going to be fantastic," Peter said.

Moreover it will mean a place for non-dusty activities including guest speakers, music playing, and a venue for men who might be not as physically active but still have a lot to contribute.

While companionship and a safe place is an important appeal for members, the focus on various community projects is equally strong to the group, which has a wide variety of skill sets.

There's always something to get involved in, whether it's the regular building of weta motels to specific work such as renovating former US Marines huts for Queen Elizabeth Park, creating 5000 Anzac crosses for World War I centenary commemorations in Wellington, building walking planks for an interschool event, or even tending a thriving garden.


Their work and dedication is highly valued. For example, when a woman brought in two weatherbeaten bench seats and a coffee table which had a lot of family history.

"The seats and table were absolutely derelict," Nigel said.

"She brought it in and said, 'can you fix it up?

"We took it back to her, newly renovated, and her jaw dropped.

"She couldn't believe it was back to its original glory."

The club's friendly, diverse and encouraging atmosphere is inviting when potential members visit.


"They take one look at this chaos and say 'yeah, that's the place for me,' and they come along," Peter said.

MenzShed Kāpiti is one of more than 100 MenzSheds throughout New Zealand.