Men’s Shed no longer homeless

Ready for work, members of the Hibiscus Mens Shed are, back (from left): Rod Till, Brian Mullan, Don McIntyre and Des Brosnahan. Front, from left: Chris Waring, Gordon Smedley and Stuart Johnston.

After two years of investigation and negotiation, the first Men’s Shed on the Hibiscus Coast will open this week.

The organisation has signed a lease with Auckland Transport over the empty row of shops, below the dairy, in Brightside Road, Stanmore Bay.

Hibiscus Men’s Shed Trust chair Stuart Johnston says he is delighted that the group will finally have a place to unpack their tools, set-up their workshops and meet on a more regular basis.

The 120sqm space will mainly be used for woodwork-based projects and will be a temporary home ahead of the opening of a full facility at Silverdale.

“The permanent shed will be built on the former bowling green in the War Memorial Park and will be much larger than the present location. At 450sqm, it will include engineering and woodworking workshops, and metalwork, welding and electronics facilities,” Stuart says. “Most of the paperwork has been completed and all going well, we hope to be in it by mid to late next year.”

While the value of the finished shed will be around $500,000, the organisation will utilise the skills of its members to considerably reduce that cost.

There are just over 115 ‘sheds’ throughout NZ, which bring mostly retired men together to share their skills, have a laugh and work on practical tasks either individually or as a group.

“Most of our members have had a 40 or 50 year working life so there is a huge wealth of experience and knowledge to be shared,” Stuart says.

“Members range from tradesmen to professional people so it’s a real mix.”

An important aspect of the Men’s Shed philosophy is mental and physical health.

“Men are known to have smaller circles of friends than women and we aren’t anywhere near as good at communicating as women, especially when it comes to health issues.

“Through companionship and camaraderie, the shed offers opportunities for men to share any problems or concerns they might have over a cup of tea or at the work bench. The tea room is a very important part of the complex.”

One of the first projects the Hibiscus shed will work on is the refurbishment of the Orewa Santa sleigh, with the idea of building a whole new sleigh next year. The shed is also looking to help local schools, kindergartens and not-for-profit groups.

One thing the group doesn’t lack is tools, as many have been donated from deceased estates.

“Guardian Storage in Silverdale was one of our first supporters and we are very grateful to them for the use of their facilities for our gear. We have partnered with Rotary to ensure that any tools that are surplus to our needs are passed on to other worthy projects.”

The new shed in Stanmore Bay will operate two to four days a week, normally from 10am to around 3pm depending on the needs of members.

The group would welcome any assistance in the form of materials, and plant and equipment, and new members are welcome. For further information, phone Stuart Johnston on 424 7854 or 027 492 3357.


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