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.

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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.’’

Photo: DAVID NI­COLL

MENS SHED: Mata­mata Com­mu­nity Men’s Shed mem­ber Ge­off McMil­lan cuts tim­ber on the new ta­ble saw.

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