Early June 2021

Tuesday and Thursday morning Mens Shed (actually People’s Shed as you can come along as any gender) sessions start. Alan is our first member. Rat traps are being manufactured.

February 9th 2021

Publicity through The Hawea Project where a webisode featuring Ben talking about reusing waste for projects at the Community Workshop https://haweagrove.nz/2021/02/episode-13-waste-diversion/

February 5th 2021

Meeting with 10 amazing Wanaka people to discuss the future steps with the Wanaka Community Workshop. On the agenda. 

  1. Develop purpose for Press Releases and Funding Applications
  2. Discussion on Renting vs Buying
  3. People + Roles

November 20th 2020

Wanaka Community Workshop Trust formed into a legal entity. Objectives are listed as


The charitable objects for which the Trust is established are:

  • Provide a place for members of the community to learn ‘shoulder to shoulder’
  • To engage all groups in the community, both the urban and rural areas of the Upper Clutha District, to promote identity, sociability, companionship
  • To share, disseminate, and preserve skills, abilities and interests that are relevant to the resilience of the community.
  • To reduce waste through reuse, repair, and repurposing; and5. To build self-esteem through education and skills mastery.

November 19th 2020

Visit to Warren Street identifies potential land for future workshop. Contacted with APL property made to find out more.

November 17th 2020

Wanaka Community Workshop concept presented to the Rotary Club. Key takeaway was that there could be land available that is being partially used by the Lions Club on Warren Street.

November 4th 2020

Kahu Youth sends a letter of support. 

The Wanaka Community Workshop’s commitment to providing a more conscious and efficient future through upcycling and community partnership via people and businesses sharing skills and materials with others, aligns with the Kahu Youth Trust vision to support initiatives that benefit Upper Clutha youth and provide opportunities to connect youth with the wider community. Kahu Youth recognises the great importance of ensuring youth have a role in our transition as a community to do things better, a collaboration between Kahu Youth Trust and the Wanaka Community Workshop has the potential to provide relevant, meaningful and positive activities for Upper Clutha youth that will help to build life skills and confidence while inspiring our young people to play a greater role in shaping the future of our community.

November 2nd 

First official meeting. Alan Richardson, Gwilym Griffith-Jones and Ben Acland. Outcome Ben and Gwilym to form Trust. Ben is to speak to the Rotary Club as a guest of Alan. 
Gwilym launches Wanaka Community Workshop facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wanakacommunityworkshop

October 28th 2020

Ben replicates John Darby’s idea and finds materials in builder skip and makes a wheelchair ramp. Ben presents the Workshop concept and accessibility ramp at the Placemakers Tradie Breakfast hosted by Dunlop Builders. 

October 2nd 2020

Contact is made with John Darby. John is renowned for his work with Grebe nesting boxes, but less known is his work rescuing building materials from worksites near his house in Meadowstone. John collects wood and makes things, one idea resonates with is accessibility ramps which he had made for his neighbour after her hip operation left her unable to enter and exit her own home.

October 1st 2020

Gwilym Griffith-Jones comes onboard and suggests that the name should be Wanaka Community Workshop. The word Workshop has more of an education, growth, and professional meaning behind it.

September 25th 2020

Connection Cafe, hosted by Link and Community Networks at the Community Hub.The idea is coming together and when delivered to the group is met with strong support.

September 18th 2020

Meet the Funders. Ben presented the concept of the Community Shed to Central Lakes Trust, Otago Community Trust, Gaming Trust. Pitch was well received by funders and other groups present at the event. Other groups that would work with the Community Workshop would be Wanaka Community Gardens that would need garden beds, Wanaka Lilliput Library group to build Lilliput Libraries.

September 16th 2020

Messenger Community News press release reporting the success of the Popup Mask factory.

Article in the Wanaka Messanger

August 2020

Pop-up Covid mask making factory run at 15 Gordon Rd. Over 2 weekends 35 children and 15 adults were taught how to make their own facemasks. Materials were donated by Wastebusters and members of the public. On top of each person learning a new skill and leaving with their own Covid19 Mask, a further 20 masks and $160 was donated to Community Networks.

Messenger advertising for interest in a MenzShed brought people forward from the community, notably women asking if the Shed would be open to them.

Further investigation reveals that in 2008 an attempt to start a MenzShed was made by the Wanaka Blokes Shed Trust only to be wound up in 2014. The understanding that a MenzShed was not viable due to high rent meant that another solution had to be found. Looking deeper we found that MenzSheds only operates 2 days a week. This and the knowledge that women, youth and working age people are all interested and need a shed  lead to the concept of a Community Shed. Essentially the same function as MenzSheds, but open to the public or other groups on a weekly schedule.

July 2020

Contacted with Wia Wanaka about the potential to share space on Riverbank Road. A Site investigation reveals unutilised land. Further investigation leads to a dead end as no ability for subletting.

March – May 2020



Ben presents his idea of an army of retired people collecting, sorting, storing building materials for reuse. Feedback from these presentations leads Ben to investigate MenzShed.

Better Building group expands

Better Building group splits into sub-groups, Building Code Advocacy, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Waste Minimization.

July 2018

After speaking to the hearing panel regarding waste, a core group of likeminded submitters got together to form the Better Building Working Group.

May 2018

Ben Acland submits on the QLDC 10year plan. Ben’s concern was that during a building boom Council was not focused on construction waste which at the time represented 34.2% of landfill.