Ron 'Skid' Eckman, front right, and the other members of Menzshed Nelson/Whakatū have set up in the old Reliance Engineering building on Haven Rd. Photo: Kate Russell.

Men get their shed

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After two-years of searching, Menzshed Nelson/Whakatū have finally found a place to call home and are ready to tackle some community projects.

The new shed is an amalgamation between Menzshed Whakatū and Menzshed Nelson and located in the old Reliance Engineering building on Haven Rd.

Member Ron ‘Skid’ Eckman says it feels “fantastic” to have a space, and with around a dozen strong regulars, and more on the list, they are looking forward to establishing themselves.

“We are fortunate to have the amount of space we’ve got, I’d say other sheds would be quite envious.”

Menzshed is a world-wide movement, originating from the ‘shed in a backyard’ scenario encouraging social activities and friendships between men, all while helping the community.

A few keen members have already completed several small projects for community groups, even though they are setting up and sourcing tools. “Right now, we are establishing our capability – things like making saw horses and work benches. Then we can get stuck into all sorts of things,” says Ron.

They are also building a WorkBox portable work shop container, in partnership with Mitre10 Mega and Boxman, which will allow them to work on off-site projects.

And Ron says the shed won’t just benefit the community – but its members, too. “It really gives these men a sense of purpose. They may be a widower at loose end, or a retiree with a wife saying, ‘get out of the house’,” he says.

“It’s also about building relationships with other guys. Not many men would go out to a café together.”

“The beauty of it is that there are men from so many different backgrounds with different skills, so they can teach others and learn new things, too.”

To complete their set-up, the shed is on the lookout for donations of equipment.

They have already been gifted a bunch of tools from Menzshed Kapiti, along with an impressive collection of machinery from an ex-boat builder.

“We’ve made him a life member, of course,” laughs Ron.

Ron says they would love people to approach them with ideas for projects, but it must be for the good of the community.

“We also want to be proactive. We want to do stuff that really engages the community and help people who wouldn’t normally approach us but need help.”

Find out more about Menzshed Nelson/Whakatū online at:
www.menzshed-nelson.org.nz