Locals interested in woodturning and carving have an outlet for their creative talents right here in The West. For over 40 years, the West Auckland Woodturners Guild has promoted the art of woodworking to beginners and seasoned veterans alike.
According to committee member Peter Hine, the Guild started in 1982 as a night class at Green Bay High School. From those early days, the Guild has grown to a membership of around 70, with woodworkers coming from all over The West. ‘We aim to foster the skills of woodcraft among the local community,’ says Peter.
He reports that members range in age from 12 to 88 and include many women. Increasingly, young people are also getting involved. ‘We offer specialised sessions for juniors aged 12 to 17 after school on Fridays,’ Peter advises. He adds that the junior membership has been the fastest-growing section of the Guild in recent years. There are also dedicated sessions for home-schooled tamariki, recently expanding from one to two weekly sessions.
Members have the use of a wide range of specialist equipment, including lathes, scroll saws, carving and pyrography tools. Demonstration sessions take place on the first and third Thursdays of the month. And there’s also expert tuition on offer, with woodcarving lessons on Saturdays.
The Guild is very active in the community. Guild members share their knowledge and skills in free demos at the New Lynn Bunnings Warehouse, Titirangi Library and German Christmas Fair, among others.
Moreover, local scouts and guide groups often use the Guild’s premises for project work. And members helped with a local scout group fundraiser by building free weta houses.
The Guild is also a proud supporter of Parkinson’s New Zealand. ‘Our members have created wooden vases and tulips – the emblem of Parkinson’s New Zealand as part of their annual fundraising initiative,’ reports Peter. He says that thanks to their efforts, over $3,000 was raised for this worthwhile cause.
Peter advises that the Guild takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. Wood is harvested from public donations and recycled native timbers. And the waste from woodturning is put to good use. Shavings are given to community gardeners or are mulched for local plantings and used in composting bins.
West Auckland Woodturners Guild is a charitable trust, and membership fees are kept as low as possible. However, thanks to the help of the Your West Support Fund, the Guild has been able to expand its programme. Funding of $2,150 has been used to buy cameras and a wall-mounted TV. This means members can get close to some of the more intricate techniques during the demonstrations. They can also view the footage afterwards to reinforce their knowledge and practice their skills.
‘This new equipment has enhanced our woodturning demonstrations and improved the learning and training of participants,’ says Peter. He also advises that the Guild has plans to create a YouTube channel and use the videos to increase their reach within the community.
West Auckland Woodturners Guild is located at 2 Rangeview Road, Sunnyvale. New members are always welcome. Check out the website for more information.