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Repair, don’t replace

Repair Cafe

Wheely interested volunteers wanted: Napier Repair Café’s founder Helen Howard, pictured, is hoping more bicycle repairers will join her team of volunteers. 

There are far better options than throwing items away, says Helen Howard, organiser of Napier’s first Repair Café. The event takes place on 25 June at the Asher Hall, Tennyson St, Napier.

Joining Helen to challenge throwaway culture, is a team of expert volunteers with practical skills. They are all set to help anyone willing to see if the items they cherish – from ‘everyday’ to extraordinary - can be fixed.

Helen encourages people to value the items they already own. “Take a pair of socks, for instance. It’s quite easy to chuck ‘em, but it all ends up in the landfill. If you can fix something, or can find someone with the skills to do it for you, you don’t need to replace it. It’s just too easy to throw things away.”

Repair Cafe volunteers are confident with sewing, mending jewellery, and fixing small appliances, that is anything small enough to carry. Helen hopes to boost the number of bicycle repairers too. Environment Centre Hawke’s Bay will test n’ tag appliances, and remove any electrical items unable to be restored to their former glory, for a small fee.

The owners of any items that can’t be repaired will be asked to take them away again for disposal.

Bringing in the Café element of Repair Café will be baking and a cuppa offered to people waiting for a slot to open up with an expert to examine their item.

A library of books and magazines focused on DIY and repair, zero waste, sewing, gardening and other selected topics will also be set up. Anything borrowed from the library will be able to be returned to the following month’s café.

Repair Café will run from 11.30am to 2.30pm. Koha is encouraged to cover the costs of refreshments. It will run once a month until November. Helen will decide what to add to upcoming ones thanks to feedback from the first Café.

To volunteer or inquire about donating goods for the free library, contact Helen at or email

This event has been made possible with the assistance of Keep Napier Beautiful and the Leaf Fund.

15 June 2022

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