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Thames MenzShed members were treated to a roof shout by Moanataiari School students last week. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

‘Roof shout’ for Thames MenzShed

Three members of Thames’ MenzShed were treated to an end-of-year roof shout, thanking them for their help in constructing a school treehouse which will soon become a popular hang out spot.
Since the middle of Term 3, Moanataiari senior students have been learning valuable skills with the local MenzShed.
Their lessons culminated in the construction of a three-level treehouse near the front of the school on Kuranui St.
“This is a treehouse that isn’t a treehouse,” Moanataiari principal David Brock said.
“The design is better than what I conceptualised because what the MenzShed have done is create a space for the kids to operate in which actually isn’t quite in the tree, but makes the tree accessible. You can see already that it is going to be a favourite spot for the kids.”
Mr Brock said there were trees scattered around the school that had been marked with a smiley face, meaning they were robust enough for the students to climb.
“You don’t want to stop kids from doing stuff,” he said. “They need to be able to learn and do stuff with some element of risk and some element of safety.”
Next year, they are planning on building a second treehouse for the junior students by a pohutukawa.
MenzShed secretary Tony Winter told The Profile that he was impressed with the 10 Year 7 and 8 Moanataiari students who were involved with the MenzShed’s School Sheddies Programme.
The programme aimed to introduce pupils to the design, materials, assembly, and completion of wood-based projects.
“The whole objective was to introduce them to a stream of something other than all this push-button stuff,” Tony said. “We wanted them to understand that something doesn’t just happen, it first has to be designed and thought through.”
On December 12, the students were helping Tony, and other MenzShed members Trish Beasley and Rae Barrington put the finishing touches on the treehouse.
They also hosted a ‘roof shout’ – an old, Kiwi tradition which acts as a way to say thank you to a team who have helped on a project.
Students Skyla Swindells, 13, and Lincoln Donaldson, 12, said they enjoyed the experience and encouraged other young people to give construction a go.
Moanataiari School and the Thames MenzShed have had an ongoing relationship for four years. The students have not only worked on site at school, but they also visited the shed off Queen St, where they learned how to saw and cut wood, use hammers, and paint.
“We had to be very careful with the tool use. It was well-supervised and quite structured,” Mr Brock said. “The last thing we wanted was kids going home missing digits.”
DETAILS: For information on the Thames MenzShed, visit