A local boy has been having a blast on his new playhouse after members of the community rallied together to get it built.

James Dawson, 6, who is severely autistic with ADHD and is non-verbal, loves his new playhouse.

His mother, Karyn Dawson, says they are absolutely stoked with it and that it is very calming for him.

"It's given him something to take his mind off trying to escape our backyard all the time."


She says it has allowed him to go outside, have some freedom, and to climb and get the height fix he needs.

It also includes a swing which calms him down, she says.

They have had the playhouse for about a month and every morning James is pointing at the door to get out and play on it, she says.

Karyn says when he is on the fort he is so happy and making noises.

"We give a huge thank you to everyone involved, without it the school holidays would have been very hard. It's much appreciated."

Rotorua Hospital chaplain Allen Foote says the project started when Cath Mott, a care transition nurse, came to him just over a year ago and said there was a local autistic boy who needed a playhouse because he leaves the property.

He says he went to Bunnings who helped with providing timber, there were three financial donors and they got Menz Shed on board for the building.

"Menz Shed really came to the party and the things they do in the community are great."

Allen says autistic children need a lot of activity as well as the opportunity to calm themselves down, and the playhouse helped with both.

He says this is the sixth playhouse organised for a local child over 10 years.

"It's great to see the enjoyment on the faces of the kids when they get to use it."

Rotorua Community Menz Shed chairman Don Hawke says he got talking to Allen about Menz Shed when he spent a lot of time at the hospital last year.

Allen told him about how they were trying to help James and he said Menz Shed would build it.

Don says they decided they could improve on the original plan and about seven men took part in the building of it. He says most of them had never made one before.

He says they made all the bits and pieces at the Menz Shed and then assembled it at James' house.

They had been thrilled when it was finished, he says.

"It was quite a long process but we finished, got it done, and it's very satisfactory."

At the Menz Shed, a third of the work they do is for charity, a third for the community and a third for their own projects.