There is a place for you to volunteer | He wahi hei tuao
It’s National Volunteer Week, so we're celebrating the invaluable knowledge, skill and time contributed by conservation volunteers, past and present.
By Alishea Dench, Partnerships Ranger | Kaitiaki Manutātaki
Some fifteen minutes from Dunedin, sitting proudly on the Taieri Plains, is a building that 45 enthusiastic blokes call the 'Taieri Blokes Shed'.
It's a humble abode but the contribution these blokes are making to their community is not to be underestimated.
The Taieri Blokes Shed was established with 9 members nearly seven years ago. It's now one of a number of ‘Menz Sheds’ dotted around New Zealand, all of which belong to the registered charity MENZSHED New Zealand.
Taieri Blokes Shed president Ian Miller approached DOC some months ago after hearing that the Alexandra Men’s Shed had been given the task of making traps for the local DOC office.
With 45 blokes to keep busy, he was keen to see if the local DOC office had any work that they could lend a hand with.
DOC ranger Simon Alefosio-Tuck jumped at the opportunity to get some valuable work done quickly. Simon identified a few jobs to get the Blokes Shed started, including building and painting sign frames and shaping up some palisade battens for a fence at a local pa site.
The Taieri Blokes shed began in 2008, with 9 members
Ian and the blokes at the shed were more than happy to take up the work.
“The more work we have, the more members are able to feel useful and give back to their community,” says Ian.
Simon with the blokes
Morning teas and socialising are a big part of the Blokes Shed
Loading the palisade fence battens onto the trailer
Ian Miller, president of the Taieri Blokes Shed
The Taieri Blokes Shed takes on woodwork, light metal work and most of the small jobs tradesman don’t want to do.
“You name it and we will have a go at it,” says Ian.
But it’s not all work at the Blokes Shed. Ian Miller says there's room for socialising too.
"It is a place that blokes can come to socialise with likeminded blokes and share their interests and skills in woodwork or metalwork, often while their wives are attending their own clubs or groups”.
Morning tea time at the Blokes Shed is of course compulsory and there are a few social evenings where the blokes and their wives get together for some good food and laughs.
The mutual benefit in a relationship like this is really obvious. The blokes at the shed feel a part of their local community and have the opportunity to give something back, while enjoying the company of others.
Groups like the Blokes Shed are really simple for DOC to work with. They are organised, know their business and a good result is guaranteed.