A steady stream of people poured into Māngere Bridge Library on Saturday 18 March 2023, some to return and collect books, some to bring items for repair to the Repair Café, some to see the JP and some to do all three at the same time.
Repair Cafés are a worldwide movement and interest is steadily growing in New Zealand. Local group Friends of the Farm are keen recyclers and embrace the kaupapa of the Repair Cafés, which provide local skilled repairers to help fellow locals extend the use of their household items by repairing them.
On the sewing table were three skilled women, Cheryl, Loryn and Kathrina, who were kept busy for the entire two hours. Mending ripped jeans and split trousers and reattaching a backpack zip were some of the repairs they made.
The electrical repair table, staffed by local electricians Mark Swords and Bernie Corston dealt with a variety of broken items including lamps, radio cassettes and clocks. Much as they would like to, it is hard to repair toasters as they are all varying sizes and need specific elements which Mark and Bernie don’t carry in stock.
IT and cell phone experts John and Matthew repaired several toy cars and sorted loose wiring on cords and plugs. They are not equipped to repair broken phone screens or iPad screens, nor can they repair damaged keyboard sensors but they can try to diagnose problems and suggest places to take the items for specialised repair.
Former local Ian Stewart had several challenging wooden items for repair and took some items away for repair in his workshop.
Irene Tufuga mended a precious Bible and several treasured books.
Kartik from Waste Management had an interesting display reminding us what can and can’t be recycled.
Friends of the Farm provided Cheer Up Cookies to those waiting for items to be repaired and the Library provided hot and cold drinks. It was heartening to see the Library in full swing again after the enforced closure in February due to flood damage and seeing locals interacting and connecting.
And who was the happiest? The toddler whose favourite car was repaired, the man whose fifteen year old back pack was given a new lease of life with a repaired zip, or the woman whose dress was mended with a clever flower paIt’s. Its hard to pick a winner – they all left with a broad smile.
The next Repair Café is scheduled for Saturday 17 June 2023.
Friends of the Farm has partnered with Auckland Council for ten years to deliver education and waste reduction services.