TRADIES: Peter Mullooly and John Lawson with one of the coffins made at Menzshed..

WHETHER you are eager to help out with building projects or just a bloke missing the company of other men after retirement, Menzshed Whakatane is here to help.

Menzshed is a concept that originated in Australia, when it was discovered that many men, once retired, were more than a little lost in their day-to-day lives.

Menzsheds cater to those men who, having worked in male company most of their lives, miss the everyday interaction of other men. Some men may have lost their “man cave” in lieu of which the Menzshed provides a similar workspace.

Menzshed Whakatane comprises a group of volunteers from all walks of life, who meet on two mornings a week. Tea, coffee and general conversation is usually followed by work of some kind.

Chairman Mark Clarke says the group has been very lucky over the years to inherit tools from handymen or trades people who have passed on, their widows or immediate family having no further use for them. Recently a grant enabled the group to purchase new tools to replace some of the donated tools now worn out after many years of use.

Such donations over the years have enabled substantial work to be done in the community.
Menzshed is mostly interested in jobs too small for a tradesman to bother with, or too time consuming to be economic. Some of the work undertaken last year was the building of three mud-kitchens for pre-schools, the repair of wooden toys for the Toy Library, refurbishment of a considerable amount of furniture, including tables, chairs and dressing tables, as well as many more small items that perhaps just needed screws replaced or re-gluing.

The Menzshed also supplied environmentally friendly coffins, which enabled family members to decorate them personally if they so desired. The coffins are made by tradesmen, are of high quality and, retail for just $450 each. Some customers request their coffin be fitted with shelves to be used as display units or simply lay them flat for a makeshift coffee table.

Menzshed has also supported the annual Blue Light Trolley Derby along with Whakatane Rotary and has supplied, with sponsors’ help, 15 trolleys for general use, as well as trophies for the competitors.

“Hospice and rest homes have enjoyed our support in different ways, as have other groups in the community such as Eastern Bay Villages. Maybe we can help you if you are a non- profit organisation in the community,” says Mark.

Whakatane Menzshed is in Poto Street, just off Te Tahi Street. The shed is open 9am to 12 noon on Wednesday and Thursday. All money earned goes back into running the shed by way of rent, power and materials.

“New members are always welcome, even if all you want to do is have a coffee while sitting for a while with male company, as do several of our older regular members,” Mark says.

Phone 027 9014212 and leave a message or email menzshedwhk@gmail.com – both are checked regularly.