by Jerome S Taniyama, Secretary, Hawai‘i Men’s Shed Association

Back in late 2015 at a Rotary club meeting, I learned about the “men’s shed” program. To me, that term conjured up an image of an old workshop or storage building next to a residence. I was corrected by a fellow Rotarian who described the Men’s Shed as a club made up of senior men drawn by fellowship, and the desire to work on personal and group projects. In fact, over 10 years ago, the concept began in Australia through Rotary clubs that helped charter Men’s Shed to provide an opportunity for senior age men. There are now over 1,200 Men’s Sheds in Australia. The Australian government documented positive results in the mental and physical health of Men’s Shed members, and now provides funding subsidies to ensure their sustainability.

Men’s Shed members met to discuss the new location and a bike refurbishing project.

The Hawai‘i Men’s Shed Association officially chartered its shed on March 1, 2016, and filed legal paperwork with the state DCCA, tax office and IRS as a nonprofit. We saw no similar program or organization that would serve the social needs of senior men. Our Hawai‘i Men’s Shed is modeled after the Australian Men’s Sheds in regards to safety, daily operations and self governance. We run on a minimal budget with funds supplied by member donations and have no paid staff.

In January 2017, the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunset adopted the Hawai‘i Men’s Shed as one of its community service projects. Our shed has also received recognition from and the support of Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, an advocate for ku¯puna services. We have also engaged in talks with Marlene Sai (at Na Ku¯puna Makamae Senior Center), the Waikiki Community Center and Kupu Hawaii regarding additional sites and programs.

A workday project at the Na Kupuna Makamae Senior Center.

A workday project at the Na Kupuna Makamae Senior Center.

Our first shed location was at the Makua Alii Senior Center. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we vacated that site. But on Feb. 28, 2017, we rolled out a new shed site located in a DOT-Harbors warehouse at 5 Sand Island Access Road, where we plan to restore 35 used bicycles for disadvantaged youth. We are also looking toward building benches and bookshelves for our neighboring schools.

Our advisory board is made up of very qualified individuals from banking, healthcare, engineering, education, insurance, retail and wholesale businesses, as well as radio media. They have laid out a doable growth plan that includes additional shed locations, doubling our membership, community support and capital improvement fundraising for a permanent location.

We are affiliated with the Men’s Sheds in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the mainland, and network with them about how we can improve safety, and make our sheds more fun and viable in our community.  n


Glenn Sears 808-373-6140  |