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Disused building given new life

President of Wairarapa Woodworkers Guild Nick Crozier. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

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The old trout hatchery building, boarded up and in disrepair for more than 15 years, on Pownall St, Masterton, has come to life, the hum of woodworking machinery a tell-tale sign that the Wairarapa Woodworkers Guild has taken up residence.

At the building on the edge of the Millennium Reserve around 20 woodwork machines are set up on benches. Some machines are for wood-turning and some for wood-scrolling. Other machines just deal with wood at the outset, shaping it.

A few months ago, guild members dusted off around 15 years of cobwebs, painted the building, put glass into the boarded-up window frames and moved in. The guild had been sharing with the Carterton Menz Shed but needed more space.

A member of the Millennium Reserve volunteers, Warwick Dean, suggested the site.

President Nick Crozier was chuffed with the large space.

He said, the owners of the building, Masterton Trust Lands Trust, were helpful and granted the guild some funds to get the building fit for purpose and cleaned up.

“We are open to women coming and doing woodwork and are keen to attract anyone, particularly young adults to come and learn woodcraft,” Crozier said.

The Wellington Acclimatisation Society set up a trout hatchery for the Wellington region in 1880. This was operating where the Wairarapa Village is now on Chapel Street.

It moved to the Pownall Street building in 1912. It ceased operating there in the late 1970s.

Masterton Intermediate School then took it over for science activities. They vacated in the early 2000s, and it remained empty until this year.

The guild, which has 40 members, runs courses on Wednesday afternoons and was also open to the public on Saturdays. It welcomes new members and runs a Facebook member-only group.

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