Volunteer passes on craft skills

17:00, Apr 08 2014
Hazel Askew
HELPING HAND: Crafting and volunteering go hand in hand for 90-year-old Hazel Askew.

Crafting and volunteering go hand in hand for 90-year-old Hazel Askew.

For the past 50 years the Onehunga woman has been making handcrafts and selling them at markets and passing on her skills to others.

She happily volunteers to share her knowledge and has taught craft-making to people at Communicare, Riding for the Disabled and the Disability Centre.

Askew has also helped teach elderly dementia patients at rest homes.

"Rather than sitting doing nothing you get crafts that they can do," she says.

"I think particularly with people with dementia and elderly people, it's OK they have physical exercise to keep them bodily fit but what they need is something to stimulate the mind.


"Craftwork can give them mental stimulation. It's important for anyone getting older.

"You find that at some rest homes everybody's sitting in the lounge looking completely wasted.

"There no mental stimulation there."

Askew's work hasn't gone unnoticed.

In 2006 she was honoured with the Mayor's Living Legend award. This was preceded by the Auckland City Certificate of Appreciation and Millenium Medal for her services to the Maungakiekie community in 2000.

She makes everything from woollen TV slippers to decorated coat hangers, stuffed toys and knitted bumble bees, peg holders, scarves, rugs, tea cosies, aprons, and bed socks.

Askew began making crafts when her husband was diagnosed with arthritis and the couple fundraised for the Arthritis Foundation.

She has since sold her wares all over Auckland and the North Island, and has the receipt books dating back decades to prove it.

Now she crafts exclusively for the Mt Eden Village Craft Market and has no plans to give up anytime soon.

"I find it very relaxing. A lot of people ask me to make things for them. It's just an outlet.

"Financially it doesn't mean anything, I certainly don't do it for the money," she says.

"As long as you cover the cost of your materials and travel expenses."

Central Leader