Castlecliff resident Roger Ellison, a retired osteopath, has turned his skills to making wooden games like quoits, corn hole, and tenpin bowling in his garage, aka, Poppa Roger's Workshop.

Ellison said the idea to start making games came about after a visit to the Masonic Court rest home.

"My mother-in-law was quite a sports-related person and into indoor bowls, and when she went to live at the Masonic Court, I got chatting to the person who organised the events up there," Ellison said.

"I said I'd like to make a game for them, and I made one [tree quoits] and brought it to them.


"They asked if I made any other types and gave me a series of books by a New Zealand author for entertaining and stimulating people who live in rest homes.

"That gave me a lot of ideas and background."

Ellison said he had made a wooden mouse and cheese game for another rest home, to replace the plastic blow-up one they had been using.

"They go flat in a matter of months, and are a waste of money basically, so I made them another one out of solid wood."

From there, Ellison made a tenpin bowling set, which meant he had to drink "a hell of a lot of coffee" to get enough containers to use as pins.

"Some of the material is new, and some is recycled."

"To my knowledge, there isn't anyone else in New Zealand who is making these wooden games.

"My next project is called Twister Throw, which is a tabletop game where you have four rows of four dots, and you throw wheat bags at them.


"Actual Twister would be much too hard for older people because they're probably already in knots."

'Tree Quoits', made by Roger Ellison for the Masonic Court rest home. Photo / Supplied
'Tree Quoits', made by Roger Ellison for the Masonic Court rest home. Photo / Supplied

A recent visit to the dentist had made him think about the possibility of supplying weddings with his games, Ellison said.

"The nurse there said they would be perfect for receptions and things like that, which I hadn't thought about before.

"Hiring the games out is something I'm mulling over, but a better option might be just to sell them because they aren't that expensive."

Ellison said he uses a variety of saws and sanders to create the games, and all the work is completed in his workshop.

"Way back in my history I served an apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker, so engineering is in my background.

"I also make furniture from unwanted and recycled materials, and anything I don't sell goes to the Salvation Army shop on Victoria Ave.

"If anyone has something they don't need or want, get a hold of me and I'll see what I can do with it."

Ellison said he was grateful for the mentoring he'd received from Men's Shed Whanganui, and for the materials he had been given by Contour Kitchens, both of which are on Wicksteed St.

To get in touch with Poppa Roger's Workshop, visit their Facebook page, or email popparogersworkshop@yahoo.com