Shed a social place for blokes
In the first in our Men and their Sheds series, David Nicoll sits down with several members of the Matamata Community Men’s Shed, which was officially opened last October.
Although the Matamata Community Men’s Shed has only been running for 10 months they are going from strength to strength with the recent purchase of a table saw for their new shed.
After outgrowing their original shed they moved to their new one on Rewa St behind the Horse & Jockey Inn, just four months ago.
Secretary Pam Dazeley said they have 23 members but the group is growing.
‘‘We started off around in Short St in a little premises which we rapidly out-grew, so this one came up and we decided to make a move.’’
They recently purchased a new table saw for their shed after receiving a grant from First Sovereign Trust.
‘‘We’ve also received some funding from the Bryant Trust that we are actually putting towards our rent commitments.’’
President Jim Gibbs said it’s taken a while for the group to get the shed to this point.
‘‘We’d just like to get a few more members, a few more guys to just come in and do stuff.
‘‘All we are trying to do is get this place up and running. We just need regular people walking through.’’
Gibbs said the biggest problem has been that they never had the right gear.
‘‘We’re slowly getting it, it’s just taken us six to 10 months.’’
The shed was founded by a group of local tradesmen led by the late Buck Buchanan, and Matamata Piako mayor Jan Barnes.
The shed was created to be a shared space for local men to work on projects, share skills, make friends and contribute to the community.
‘‘It’s a social place for blokes because there aren’t that many things for retired men to do with other blokes.
‘‘Women have a heap of choices when it comes to joining clubs and organisations but there’s not a lot for men. So we find this is filling a need in the community,’’ Dazeley said.
‘‘Most of these guys have had a practical background in building, joinery or engineering and it’s just lovely for them to be able to come here.’’
Dazeley said there are Men’s Sheds all over the country, each one different from the next.
‘‘They’re in all sorts of stages. There are some, take for instance Morrinsville, that have maybe just formed a committee and are looking for premises, they’re not even under way.’’
‘‘There’s an amazing shed down in the Wairarapa, Masterton I think, and they even own their building.
‘‘They’ve gone from strength to strength and they run a very good shed.’’
As for their projects, Dazeley said they have done some big climbing frames for a daycare centre and a local school.
Currently the group is working on a project for Central Kids Rawhiti Kindergarten where they are making a series of coloured shapes to decorate a fence.
‘‘We fix things, broken chairs and broken things, small repairs.
‘‘We can work with anybody. We’re not there to rip anybody off, we’re just trying to pay our rent,’’ Gibbs said.
Gibbs said that for most members, the shed was about having companionship.
‘‘A lot of guys are sitting round, you get dozens of them sitting round in Matamata watching TV and they could be here.’’
Gibbs, a retired horse trainer, said that he is just a hobbyist.
‘‘I’ve learnt off these guys here. I’m 76 in October. You just never stop learning.’’
Even though most of the furniture on display at the shed was his, Gibbs said he’s ‘‘still got a shed full at home.’’ ‘‘I’m mad, I just build things.’’ Geoff McMillan, 81, has been a cabinet maker and joiner since he was 15 and is one of the founding members of the Matamata Community Men’s Shed.
On display was a wooden cart which McMillan made out of road post off-cuts in his own workshop.
‘‘I got on to the guy that does the road signs and got his off cuts.’’
‘‘All this stuff was just going to the tip and I said ‘hang on, no it’s not’.’’
McMillan moved to Matamata two years ago and said he got involved so he could meet people.
‘‘It’s one way of getting to know people in the area.’’
MENS SHED: Matamata Community Men’s Shed member Geoff McMillan cuts timber on the new table saw.