Where did the Men’s Shed movement begin?

The Men’s Shed movement began in Australia where it is recognised at government level as contributing to improvements in men’s well being and health. The equivalent initiative in New Zealand is being driven by interested men throughout the country without direct government support but with support from local councils and community groups.

What is a Men’s Shed?

It is a place where men can go to, socialise, have a yarn, be creative, share ideas, share skills and spend time with other men while working. Woodworking facilities are often the first to be setup but potential activities are unlimited.

Is it for men only?

Men are the primary focus group as they have been identified as the group that will most benefit from the shed initiative. However there are no rules, guidelines or standards for sheds in NZ and some sheds in Australia do have women as members or visitors. The New Brighton Menz Shed is one shed that welcomes women members.

It is interesting to note that women are often the most supportive of the men’s shed movement, perhaps they better recognise the benefits that the activity can bring.

Why have a Men’s Shed?

Many men do not belong to clubs or organisations and they can become isolated as they grow older or move out of employment. The Shed provides an opportunity for men of all ages to enjoy other men’s company, be creative and try a variety of new skills.

Who can become sheddies?

Men’s shed reach out to all men of all ages, retired men, young men, middle aged men and even teenage males. In fact any male who needs somewhere to go where there is male company, skills and life experiences.

What benefit is there for the community?

The shed provides another activity that men can get involved in. The shed may elect to undertake community projects but note that it is not a source of cheap labour and generally would not commit to ongoing community projects.

How does it work?

The men of the shed run the shed, decide what they want to do as individuals or as a group, when to do it and at what pace they do it.

How is it resourced?

It is the men’s responsibility to hunt down tools. There are many sheds and homes around that have equipment that is not used. This may be donated to the men’s shed while other equipment may need to be purchased.

Some projects may be made to sell and the profits returned to the shed. Fundraising, fees and donations are also needed to meet running costs.

Men’s Shed Goals

  • To have a place to meet and work together.

  • To create a safe, supportive, caring and respectful environment.

  • To create an active environment in which skills, talents and knowledge can be shared with others while fostering relationships.

What can you do if interested?

Ray Hall is a member of the Christchurch Men’s Shed hub committee and a trust member for the New Brighton Menz Shed.