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Don’t bin it – get it fixed

Hayden Mischefski. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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If you could have something repaired locally for free, would it stop you from throwing it away?

This is the question Carterton’s Hayden Mischefski asked himself after watching the movie ‘Living the Change’ before coming up with an idea on how to share knowledge and reduce waste.

“Why throw something away when you can fix it – we have the expertise but we’re not sharing it,” he said.

This sparked the idea of setting up Fix It Lab – a community-run workshop hosted by volunteers with the knowledge and skills to repair various items for people in the community.

The lab aims to offer a variety of services including sewing, toy repairs, and bike repairs, with volunteers bringing along their own tools and supplies for the work.

“It’s volunteer-based so it will be free to the public but people can give a koha or bring muffins or a coffee if they like.”

Mr Mischefski said the beauty of the lab is that it would also give people the opportunity to come along and learn skills they didn’t have themselves and in return, share their own knowledge of fixing things.

“If we had a hub of experience in a centralised place, from a community point of view, we would be more in contact with each other.”

The initiative was by no means the self-proclaimed philanthropist’s first rodeo.

Since moving to the region seven years ago with his wife, Amy Bushnell, he has joined the community group, Resilient Carterton, helped establish the Carterton Farmers’ Market and set up a charity based in Cambodia which raises funds and awareness for projects such as implementing education programmes in provinces.

He is also involved with Wairarapa Earth School and manages Community Fruit Harvesting Wairarapa which gives schools, foodbanks and anyone else access to free fruit grown around the region – projects which all fit around his full-time job as a procurement specialist.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we democratised the access to food so people could grow their own trees and have free access to fresh fruit?’”

Not only has he planted fruit trees in numerous schools around the region, but regularly visits them to collect the excess fruit to donate to anyone who needs it.

He said his six-year-old son Theo thinks he is “obsessed with trees” and thinks his job is “fruit thief”.

“If he’s going to grow up in this region, I want him to be part of a strong community.”

Fix It Lab will be continuing this theme of resilience, which he said has received strong support from Carterton residents.

To get the project off the ground, Mr Mischefski was trying to generate volunteers, and was hoping to get a registered electrician onboard to donate time for simple repairs and advice.

He then plans on opening the lab to the public once a month at the Carterton Events Centre in the Scout Hall space, which will be announced via the Fix It Lab’s Facebook page.


  1. What is this????? People being asked to work for free to help the desperately impoverished – because the govt is refusing to. This isn’t my culture, why did this man come to my country and do this?????????

    Only slaves work for free – or neo-liberal terrorists. Who is this foreign colonist, was he bought here to destroy our caring Kiwi culture?

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