Mens Shed expands membership, floor space and product range

Mens Shed Auckland East (MSAE) is expanding. Membership has grown from a handful of founders in the pre-shed days of 2017, to 170 currently. The distinctive Nissen hut headquarters with its smaller adjacent Barn in Abbotts Way, Remuera, is open five mornings a week from Tuesday through Saturday.


To accommodate the increased membership, the main building itself is being extended with the addition of a 66 square metre mezzanine floor. “The extra space means we can expand the functions we can offer members,” says Board member Alan Minson. To complement our timber, mechanical and technology workshops, we will soon have a place for creative work and making lighter products — toys, art, craft, leather and fabric.”


MSAE specialises in environmental products. It has passed the milestone of 4,000 rat-trap tunnels supplied to its original customers, Eastern Bays Songbird Project (Manu Tī Oriori), local residents associations and Pest Free Howick, and also provides products to Council groups such as Urban Parks and Maunga groups, as well as to the general public.


Mark Nobilo heads the environmental portfolio ably assisted by Terry Oaks. With rat traps as a foundation, the product range has extended to include Wētā Condos, DoC200 traps, Timms trap platforms, Ruru nest boxes and Kauri dieback footwear-cleaning stations. Because of the educational value for children, they have found it necessary to always have about a dozen of the popular Wētā Condos in stock.

“We hope to become a go-to pest management manufacturer for DoC,” Mark says. A run-through trap with internal ramps is the latest product, designed by DoC rangers in response to the recent discovery of two stoats on Motutāpu Island.  Mark says it is effective against ferrets as well as stoats and is an improvement on the traditional DoC200 trap. DoC expects to employ 20 run-through traps each on the pest free islands of Rangitoto, Motutāpu and Motuihe. 


MSAE also makes nursery frames for Trees for Survival — a Rotary-sponsored programme which involves children from 30 schools who nurture tree seedlings planted in milk crates — 20 crates per frame and two frames per school.


And although Mens Shed won’t change its name, it has always been open to women members — already there are half a dozen. The first, Pip Hayes, brought along her Toyota Hiace and asked if she could pay MSAE members to turn it into a camper van. “No”, they said, “but if you become a member, we’ll help you do it as a personal project.”


“Our go-getters are always coming up with ideas,” Alan says. “We’re never short of something to do. People bring their own projects. Although members are welcome to just come for coffee and a chat, or arrive with a batch of scones, apart from the morning tea sessions, there are plenty of jobs to be done. Everyone is welcome.”

Story and pix by Jan Power (EBSP) 

The new mezzanine floor taking shape
It’s a hive of industry in the newly acquired Barn
A consignment of DoC stoat traps ready for dispatch