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New President for Menz Shed Whitianga and Sheddie of the Year.

By Pauline Stewart.

It was the Annual General Meeting of the Whitianga Menz Shed, last Thursday, 6 June at the Social Services Centre in Cook Street, Whitianga.

About 30 men gathered - a good representation of ages, from forties through to the eighties. All have some skill in building or enjoy making, repairing and designing things. Either it has been their hobby, their past career, or they have learned how to build or connect things at the Menz Shed. Some were, and still are, engineers, company managers, accountants, scientists, architects, farmers. Many have now retired. Anyone can join the Whitianga Menz Shed. They repair, build, design, cut, paint, drink coffee or tea and enjoy the friendship. Many of their products are sold at markets or fairs to support community projects. Children’s wooden toys are very popular.

Founder honoured and remembered.

Brian Mearns, outgoing President, spoke of the founder of the local Menz Shed, Malcolm Brown. Bryan said, “Along with Kevin Malcolm and Richard Vetter, Malcolm organised the first public meeting, gained a lot of public support for the Menz Shed workshop concept and the first committee was formed. Malcolm Brown set the tone of the Menz Shed.” In his memory there is a memorial shield presented each year to an outstanding member of the Menz Shed, titled Sheddie of the Year.

Brian then presented this Memorial Shield to the Sheddie of the Year 2023 and wrote this tribute which is set out below.

This year’s Sheddie of the Year is one of those jokers who works tirelessly but so quietly that he could easily have gone unnoticed, was it not for the fact that his work is so good. I know when I get a difficult job come in, that he is the ‘go to’ man. Phil does a lot of work outside ‘Shed’ hours, fixing stuff at his home, transporting larger objects for us and helping out with practically everything we do.

By unanimous agreement, the ‘Master of manufacture, moving and mowing, our Sheddie of the Year, 2023 is Phil Rule.

A big thank you Phil for all your help and productivity and congratulations!”

A very fitting touch to the meeting was a presentation by the incoming President, Glenn Schache, to Bryan Mearns and Kevin Robinson outgoing Secretary, to thank them for their leadership and service. Glenn had carved for each of them, on behalf of the men of the Menz Shed, a wooden fish hook in Maori traditional style on a polished and framed wooden mount, personally named and dated. As well, each man was given a very well-tailored Menz Shed Whitianga shirt.

Coromandel Peninsula has Menz Sheds in Whitianga, Whangamata, Thames (Menz and Womenz Shed) and Pauanui. There is a shed near you.

Caption: Phil Rule Sheddie of the Year, 2023.


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