About eight people brought things that needed fixing and three people volunteered to be fixers at Nelson Lebo's first Repair Cafe at the Durie Hill Market.

The Repair Cafe is part of an international movement, and it was Lebo's first try in Whanganui.

Items repaired included toys, bicycles, pots and pans and their owners made a gold coin donation. A deep fryer was too complex too fix, and potentially a fire hazard.

The people who brought broken items were very grateful. Some of them might have cost $20 to $50 to repair. At that level, it would be cheaper to buy a new one and Lebo is trying to avoid that in Buy Nothing New Month.


One of the new volunteers "just turned up and joined us", Lebo said.

"The two of them were much more experienced and skilled than me. I took a back seat."

Stalls overflowed the market on October 6. Photo / Lewis Gardner
Stalls overflowed the market on October 6. Photo / Lewis Gardner

The market, in a former church building in Maxwell Ave from noon-3pm on the first Sunday of the month, is a new one for Whanganui. About 200 people went through on October 6, and there were two food trucks outside.

The next Repair Cafe will be at the Whanganui Learning Centre in Wicksteed St from 2pm-4pm on October 12. It will have more space, sewing machines and electricity, and afternoon tea provided by Mint Cafe.

"It will be quite a social event."

Lebo is encouraged by the response to his first effort.

"You don't know unless you try."

Mostly, he said, people who have ideas think they need money to do them. Then they have to deal with "gatekeepers, who want to clip the ticket and manipulate the idea".


"If you bypass the gatekeepers, there's nothing you can't do."