Men get their own place to be blokes

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 08:00 19/11/2012
Menz shed
Sonia Beal

Tamati Matene, left, and Mark Burden, work away at the opening of the Blenheim Menz Shed at the Bright Centre in Dillons Point Rd, Blenheim, on Saturday.

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The Blenheim Menz Shed drew 15 new members during its official opening on Saturday, taking its membership up to 20.

Menz Sheds have been set up around the country to provide men with a blokey place to develop new skills or hone old ones.

Steering committee chairwoman Ailsa Carey said about 15 people had signed up at the opening, taking membership to 20.

Kaikoura MP Colin King and members from Menz Sheds in Waimea, Picton and Renwick were among about 60 people who attended the event, at the Bright Centre in Dillons Point Rd. After the building was blessed, Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman snipped a piece of No 8 wire to officially open the Menz Shed. On display inside was a carving stand, a couple of boats for renovating, books for sale and a desktop computer.

Ms Carey said her next step was contacting Blenheim Menz Shed members to see what day it suited them to meet there.

"We'll start with one day a week, but if someone puts their hand up to supervise for more, then that's great," she said. "Membership will drive the days it will be open."

Blenheim member Jim Davis said the shed was a space that provided men with comradeship and support, especially those who were older, which gave them the chance to be themselves.

"It's a place for men to come and get together and work and talk like men," Mr Davis said. "If you bring women into a place like this the men will be very polite, but they won't talk like men."

It was also an important network for older men who had lost their partner, Mr Davis said. "When older men lose their partner, they're more prone to suicide. And these men come from a generation where there wife does everything for them. So it's an important venue for guys to come and share their experiences and talk about grief.

"Men don't talk about grief - women talk about grief. It's a place where they can find someone in the same position as them - even if they come in just for a cup of tea."

Mr Davis, who moved to Blenheim in July, said he was asked to help after establishing the Menz Shed in Waimea, Nelson.

There are four Menz Sheds in the region - Blenheim, Picton, Renwick and Kaikoura. For more information, call Ms Carey on 03 578 7848.

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