Talk of men's shed expansion

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 11:46 14/02/2013
Men’s Shed
Peter Drury/FAIRFAX NZ

Team effort: Hamilton Community Men’s Shed Trust chairman Dr Neil Bruce, left, and 79-year-old You Ben Ma restore a chest of draws.

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Blokes who find a home in community men's sheds in Hamilton and around the country are about to get their own national association and Waikato's leading tool guy, Dr Neil Bruce, is at the forefront of the move.

Expansion is on the cards too.

In Waikato there are two sheds - one opposite Hamilton Girl's High School off Seddon Rd and another in Te Awamutu. But there's talk in the air of sheds in Matamata and Putaruru. More could spring up if the need is there, Dr Bruce said.

He is the Hamilton Community Men's Shed Trust chair and he'll travel to the three day national conference that runs in Nelson from Friday to form the national body.

The Hamilton branch has 20 members but they want more, maybe upwards of 40. The trust is also looking at getting a bigger building and recruiting more blokes into the welcoming place.

The only problem is funding and they're open to offers of shared space and other suggestions.

So what kind of a place is a men's shed?

Dr Bruce said the more you try and describe it the more you restrain what a men's shed can be.

It can be different things to different people.

The Hamilton Community Men's Shed is a high ceilinged room short on space and long on tools. There are industrial machines, nails, screws and hammers. There's a spot to sit and chat over coffee and tea. There's paint stacked in the toilet and a do it yourself library. There are all kinds of wooden things being, and been, made.

It's a kind of foil to the wasteful, hands off consumerist approach that has encroached on some parts of kiwi society.

Age is no barrier. Yesterday at 11am, 79-year-old You Ben May of Hamilton East was working away on a series of tea trays.

The shed was one of the country's first when it opened nearly five years ago in a council owned building.

The idea originally gained traction in Australia where farmers in drought stricken areas often fell victim to depression and suicide and the sheds were a way to combat that.

Dr Bruce said they are under utilising their potential at the moment and he'd love to see more guys with time on their hands or skills in the bank to join.

Retired men are usually rich in both, Mr Bruce said.

Give him a buzz on 0211545026 to get involved.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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