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How plastic can make things click

Alzheimers Wairarapa has pulled off a coup involving bricks – thanks to a generous LEGO users’ club.

Next weekend, the organisation will be hosting the 2022 Wairarapa Brickshow: featuring close to 40 adult LEGO builders from around New Zealand with their flashing, moving or static exhibits.

Also making an appearance will be winners of the TV reality show LEGO Masters NZ, Glenn Knight and Jake Roos.

“There’ll also be play tables where you can get hands-on with LEGO yourself,” Alzheimers Wairarapa spokesperson Julia Mahony said.

LEGO is more than a fun activity for children. The small plastic building blocks are now known to be powerful tools for stimulating the minds and creativity of neurodiverse people and people with dementia, as well as helping those with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

It provides multiple forms of stimulation: Visual, tactile, kinaesthetic and, potentially, social.

“It helps me de-stress at the end of the day and helps me tap into my creativity,” Knight, LEGO Master and Pahiatua resident, said.

He and LEGO buddy Roos will exhibit their LEGO Masters trophy and reveal new builds. Without giving too much away, Knight says he’ll have on show, “something medieval and something outdoorsy – maybe even a cave or a cavern”.

Knight belongs to the Wellington LEGO User Group (Well-LUG), which puts on Brickshows to raise money for charities.

“All exhibitors are registered with Well-LUG,” Mahony said. “They’ll bring their precious cargo over the Remutaka Hill or from the north and finalise exhibits in Masterton. They’re doing this at their own expense. It’s for a great cause and we’re so grateful.”

Alzheimers Wairarapa receives no government funding, and so its work relies on grants, donations and fundraising events. The charity engages with about 180 clients and families each year, but numbers are set to increase as baby boomers age.

“The support service we provide is not just for people with a diagnosis of dementia – but for partners and carers living with its effects,” Mahony said.

The Wairarapa Brickshow will be held from 10.30am on Sunday, December 4, at Solway Showgrounds [entry via Fleet St]. Entry is $5 per person at the door.

There will be EFTPOS available for door sales and purchases of LEGO but bring cash for “raffles, competitions, cake with Santa and other goodies”.

Autism Wairarapa Charitable Trust is running a special sensory hour between 9.30am and 10.30am – catering for people who find it hard to cope with crowds, loud and sudden noises, or intense social situations. To book, email [email protected]. Bookings are essential.

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