Hive of activity for Santa's Workshop

Svend Fanefjord makes wooden toys at his 'Santa's workshop' in Coatesville.
Amy Baker

Svend Fanefjord makes wooden toys at his 'Santa's workshop' in Coatesville.

Christmas preparation is a year-round event in Svend Fanefjord's 'Santa's Workshop'.

And its Coatesville craftsman is a real-life santa too, creating wooden toys to give away at Christmas 12 months a year, using donated wood and materials.

Fanefjord keeps a cracking pace and has made no less than 1500 toys this year.

Wooden toys made in Svend Fanefjord's workshop.
Amy Baker

Wooden toys made in Svend Fanefjord's workshop.

He says his main motivation is to give to children in need at Christmas.

READ MORE: Toy maker shows Santa spirit

"I like kids to have something for Christmas. A lot of kids - their parents don't have money, so I like giving them toys," he says.

Fanefjord has made 1500 toys this year.
Amy Baker

Fanefjord has made 1500 toys this year.

A cabinet maker by trade, Danish-born Fanefjord has been creating his toys since 2009.

And every year since, the number of toys made climbs.

The first year he made 300. By 2014, he'd reached over 1000.

Fanefjord says his main motivation is giving to kids at Christmas.
Amy Baker

Fanefjord says his main motivation is giving to kids at Christmas.

Production has also increased thanks to the donation of wood and dowel from two Silverdale businesses.

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Having already been in business for a decade making wooden playhouses before retiring in the mid-2000s, Svend's Kiwi wife Nicola Fanefjord says they decided from the outset to give away the toys.

The workshop - aptly named Santa's Workshop - gives to all kinds of groups including toy libraries, kindergartens and clubs.

A year's worth of toys packed up and ready to go.
Amy Baker

A year's worth of toys packed up and ready to go.

This Christmas, they're supporting the City Mission, Salvation Army and Foster Hope among others.

Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly says it is not common to receive hand-made toys and describes Fanefjord's work as "stunning".

"They are amazing. I just don't know how much time he puts into each one but they are works of art," he says.

Farrelly says the gifts are matched to children in need, and Fanefjord's contribution will given with this in mind.

Fanefjord says he doesn't start with a particular design, but creates based on the materials available.

He makes uses of whatever is around, including using mustard bottle tops as road cones and mascara brushes for chimney sweeps.

To speed up production, he makes many single toy parts at a time before assembling them as a whole.

Nicola says she can hardly get her husband to leave his workshop for a holiday.

"Svend's present is being left alone to work at his own pace. He's got one of those minds that just never stops working," she says.

"I just think all Danes have this magic design in them... they're just so clever. It just amazes me what they can do with nothing."

 - North Harbour News

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