Newsletter No. 27 August 2017

August 22, 2017
Monthly Newsletter

Welcome again to all comers. 

A special welcome to other Sheds around NZ who have been added to our circulation list.

This is more likely to be edifying for us when we hear what they are up to than it will be for them, but such is the fashion of the modern world with its excess of data circulating, only matched by paucity of communication.

Our Shed continues to plod along with more people turning up to join on a steady basis and the extra room we have just moved into becoming too small for all that needs to be done.

The actual numbers on any given day are a bit lower at present, what with school holidays and grandfather duties added to the unwelcoming temperatures – perhaps we’re getting soft in our old age!

I am trying to come to terms with the increasing complexity of our organisation. Accordingly I have listed all the Shed opening times at the end of this newsletter and have added the supervisor’s name as the person to speak to if you turn up to have a look around, check out what’s happening, want a job done, or simply are in urgent need of a cup of tea.


Our dust extraction systems seem to be working reasonably well to the extent that when we succeeded in getting a grant from the Council’s Community Fund for two more automatic vacuum extractors, we turned it down as no longer needed and therefore we shouldn’t waste ratepayers (viz. our) money.

We were planning to apply for another grant to cover the costs of two new large signs for the entrance to the Shed. 

New Signs on the MenzShed

Very generously, the Council transferred our successful grant to help with the cost of the signs which means they are now underway.

With such innovation, the phone calls to my wife in search of the Shed may be reduced. The picture shows how we hope it will look shortly. 

Please note the elegant paving in front of the Shed and how much in need of a sweep it is.

The other major item on our agenda is the next door new Regional Bowls Centre building and (more importantly for us) the parking space.

The parking area should be sealed in the next week or two, give or take the odd storm, and then the temporary fence can be removed and we will have the parking area that we were able to access previously.

That should leave more room on the road for vehicles to get passed.

Dovetail Joints

Tony sorting the Dovetail joint out

With the guidance of a casual visitor, one of the three donated dovetailing machines has been dusted off and he demonstrated how it should be used.

This has led to a flurry of activity with people trying to master the art of dovetailing.

Frustration levels can be measured by the amount of sound from the mallet hitting the subsequent work pieces together! 

Tony was particularly keen to get it mastered in spite of the cold weather!

A spin-off from all this concentrated activity is the increasing amount of interestingly shaped fire-wood.

I know we are short of firewood but this seems a rather tortuous way to supplement the supply.


Knitting needles

After the not uncommon delay of six months or so, these were duly handed over to an excited lady who is resolving the next problem of what yarn to use.

I use the term ‘yarn’ deliberately as this whole exercise is turning out to be a bit of a tall story.

‍I do however have photographic proof that we did make the needles for her. I am looking forward eagerly to the next steps and the final clock-tower beanie. 

Mouse Bait Stations

In April, the team at the Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve transferred a number of fernbirds from the Rotokare Reserve in Taranaki to Pauatahanui and they seem to be happily settling in in spite of the weather. 

Mouse baiting stations

The rats and stoats are under reasonable control with continuing trapping, but there are large numbers of mice showing up on the tracking data and there is a worry that the fernbirds, being no bigger than a mouse, may be susceptible to mice attacks during the breeding season in Spring. 

Consequently we have been developing and making bait stations that are weather-resistant, biodegradable for when they get washed out to sea, sit up above the water-level around the reserve where the birds will be and are accessible to the mice but not to the birds.

With all that in mind, we’ve come up with the ones in the pictures. We are very grateful to Resene for the large quantities of attractive concrete grey paint they have supplied and by dint of plunging the whole bait station into the 10 litre container, I think we will achieve enough water-resistance for them to survive for a couple of seasons.

The most remarkable thing about this photo is that the sun is shining!


Two preschools have provided us with the challenge of replacing lost pieces of their jigsaw puzzles. Once we have managed to ‘do’ the puzzle and work out what is missing, cutting out the shape with the correct thickness of wood is a bit fiddly but manageable.

Although we are not committed to painting them, leaving that up to the teachers, the kindergartens involved do seem to appreciate it which is a good reward.

Regional Bowls Centre 

We have been involved in a couple of jobs for our next door neighbours. They were keen to get a sign-in desk on the wall of the entrance to the building where at least four people could sign-in at the same time. 

Happily the request was for it to be done in plywood with pine matching much of the present furnishings and building. 

The result worked out pretty well, all things considered, and the Club manager seems pleased with the result.

The other job was to drill two holes in short lengths of 50 x 200mm pine which are to be buried around the greens at strategic places so that notices can be put in them to show scores and all that sort of thing. Sounds easy enough, but a bit of thought was needed, not least of which was how long the second-hand timber was going to last underground! Ninety-six holes later and the job has been done.

Church Furnishing

Having turned some of the large cross from St Columba which has been demolished across the road into some commemorative crosses for former parishioners, we were then asked to make lectern for another

church in Taita. 

As they met in a school hall and items tended to get lost during the week, they were keen for this to be able to be taken to bits and put in the boot of the car for safe keeping.

Doll’s Houses

There seems to be a steady demand for these from all sorts of places. This one was for a local family of girls who appreciated it so much they wrote a lovely thank you note of great price.


Hani, our resident artist/designer/architect is keen to do some paintings for the Red Cross to sell as a thank you for the help they have given him.
He would like any old pictures +/- the frames for reuse.
He is also keen to get pictures of local NZ activities and scenes from books, magazines, calendars, etc to supplement his Iraqi visions.
All offers gratefully accepted.

Ministry for Old People

On Tuesday, August 9, we had a visit from the Ministry for Old People in the guise of Lee and M-J. 

To be clearer about this I should point out that they were from the OSC of the MSD – I leave you to sort out the TLAs of which I disapprove vociferously.

They were keen to spread the word about ‘positive aging’ which confused me as the opposite, namely ‘negative aging’, sounds more appealing as presumably you get younger and younger as time goes on. 

Whatever, they seemed impressed with all the different activities going on, the range of gear we have and the enthusiasm of the members – even if I was having a grumpy day at the time!

They were taking so many photos and we were having to sign all sorts of permission forms that I thought a bit of retaliation was in order. Actually they were too busy for the mandatory cup of tea and Lee was even keen to join up. We must have got something right.

Archie Kerr

Wood worker, Monthly Newsletter Epistle writer

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