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The Mens Shed
68d Tidal Road
16-18 Ferguson St
Mangere East, Auckland 2024
Mangere community members have set up the first of what they hope will be several Men's Sheds in the area - places where blokes without their own work sheds can go to create or build, learn from others or just hang out for a chat. Stuff.co.nz talks to those who are making the most of the scheme.
In a tool-laden shed wedged between a paint and panel workshop and a mechanics garage, a group of men's men are loudly going about their business.
Hands scarred by years of work, faces lined by years of living and trade skills honed by several decades worth of job experience are being put to use in a burgeoning community venture in Mangere, south Auckland.
The Men's Shed on Tidal Road is a haven for blokes who have all but hung up their professional tool belts, but still want to potter away in a workshop and give back to the community.
It's also there for the younger generation who want to borrow that knowledge and put their own skills with a hammer or lathe to the test - DIY know-how that many lament is becoming a relic of a more self-reliant past.
Mangere East Family Service Centre CEO Peter Sykes says the shed is a place for blokes to be blokes.
"In this community men don't have sheds like they used to and we needed a place where guys could meet and talk where they could learn skills, share their skills," he said.
"These guys have been sitting at home wanting something to do and through the paper and through word of mouth, they just turn up."
Sykes hopes it becomes a place where members will also help each other in less tangible ways, whether it be coping with grief, getting used to retirement or just some camaraderie.
"Once men meet then they can start talking and that's really what we want to happen.
"Rather than going to a waiting room or a councilors the guys are already talking about their health and talking about relationships and... they're passing on their skills to young people."
Such an environment might even be music to the Accident Compensation Corporation's ears - more than 33,000 people were seriously injured doing DIY last year.
Four thousand alone were seriously hurt falling off ladders, around 460 people a week were injured while using a tool at home - nearly three an hour.
The blokes shed idea is not unique - there are more than 400 around Australia as well as one in Franklin which produces furniture.
Sykes says they want up to six sheds around the community, though they won't all be filled with tools.
The plan is for people to use it to work on their own projects, either for their homes, for other peoples or for sale.
The current clientele, carpenters and engineers and the like, are putting what started as an empty shed together, finding tools, rigging frames and putting together work benches though they say there is a long way to go.
It is hoped the venture will be self-sustaining, with proceeds from sales earning both members and the shed an income.
The shed is located behind Moon Motors at 68d Tidal Road in Mangere.
It's open Monday and Wednesday from 9am until 1pm.