Shed be right

Menzshed Wellington after being homeless for almost two years has found a new shed.

The Hataitai Bowling Club greenkeeper’s shed will soon house the DIY group, which had to move out of their Haining Street, Sister’s of Compassion premises in 2015 after it was earthquake redstickered.

Menzshed Wellington trustee Steve Jardine says it has been hard work finding new premises and it’s great to finally have a place to move into. “The former Hataitai Bowling Club shed ticks a number of boxes,” he says. “It’s on a good bus route, easy access, not far from town, and it has a great community feel about it.” 

Menzshed Wellington operates as a go to place for men (and women) who need a shed to work on their special project. But, says, Steve Jardine, it fulfills a much bigger role in our community.

“It’s a place for guys at a loose end. We are not just dealing with Kiwi blokes, we are dealing with all cultures, different nationalities. We get a lot of blokes that are refugees and our buddy system helps them understand more about the New Zealand culture. Their English might not be the best so we do the best to make them feel at home.”

It also helps people, he says, who may feel “socially isolated”.

“We have a lot of dealings with older people, not mentally unwell but socially isolated – people made redundant, or perhaps a man whose wife has passed away. Some of our people may be living in small council flats with no workshop, no shed to potter around in. A lot have a lack of self worth, kids have grown, but they can come along to the shed, get involved in community project groups and get some satisfaction out of a job well done.

“A lot of the work Menzshed does is community focused.  We do a lot of work for kindergartens for example and when the jobs are done the kiddies will do a big card with painted hand prints and that sort of thing, one of the mums will bake a cake and you just see the guys eyes light up. That feeling of self worth is huge.”

Hataitai Community House and Childcare Collective (HCCCH) chair Chris Hare says Menzshed Wellington totally fulfills the aims of The Trust that co-administers the bowling club facilities.

“When Hataitai Bowling Club gifted the club to the community in 2011, the aim was to keep the facility in the arms of the local people,” says Chris. “The Menzshed, along with the numerous other activities at this ‘Hataitai hub’ enlarges and continues the old bowling club tradition of inclusiveness.”

And it’s that inclusiveness, for Steve Jardine, that is one of Menzshed Wellington’s biggest strengths. He says the two years without a shed has meant a number of ‘sheddies’ have disappeared back into the woodwork but believes now they have a new premises it will be back to business for the ‘sheddies’.

“A lot of these guys aren’t that mobile. They need a workspace where they can sit or lean on a workbench. They have been in limbo waiting for the word that we have a new shed.”

One of the first jobs the sheddies will undertake when they move into the Hataitai shed will be making predator traps for possums and stoats for a predator free Northland. “They are screaming out for traps and they have turned to us and I have said yes we are more than happy to help once we have the shed up and running.” 

WCC social development portfolio head Councillor Brian Dawson says he is delighted to have the Menzshed up and running in Hataitai. “Supporting these services are important to us and it's great the Hataitai Community Recreation Trust could help provide a base.”

Menzshed contact Steve Jardine, invites new “sheddies” to contact him re joining up, on 027 4384660.