A shed of the year competition is coming to Kapiti. The call is going out to all “sheddies” to sharpen their chisels, charge up the cordless drill and “knock up” a shed.

In line with the popular UK shed of the year made famous by George Clark, the competition is being run by Kapiti Older Persons Council (OPC) with funds raised going to Menzshed Kapiti. It is hoped that the competition will foster community involvement, inspire people to take up a shed project, encourage cross generational communication and foster interest in the quality of our living spaces. It could also make use of the considerable skills in the retired sector of our community.

OPC hopes to keep rules to a minimum. The first rule is that the competition is kept simple. The second rule is that we all have some fun. While local bylaws must be adhered to for standing sheds, if this presents a problem for some competitors, a mobile entry can be constructed which essentially gets around this requirement. Entry fees will be kept affordable at $25.

The shed does not have to be new, people are welcome to enter an existing shed. There will be six categories of Garden/office/Sleep-out or studio, Workshop, Pub/bar/man-cave, Recycled-Eco, Workshop, Budget, and Mobile. Judging criteria will include such things as design features, craftsmanship, effect, inventiveness of form (creativity), inventive recycling, environmental awareness and interior design. There is also a concept invented by the UK organizers called “shedliness”. This is a somewhat esoteric term which looks at the relationship of the shed to its environment and the purpose of the shed. . If anyone wants to donate their shed, it would be auctioned off with the proceeds going to Menzshed. The competition is not restricted to men and women are strongly encouraged to enter. In the UK competition it was notable that a lot of the interior design flair was contributed by women.

Principal organizer, Marie O’Sullivan has a shed committee of competent helpers in the form of Jan Reid, John Hayes and local councilor Guru (K. Gurunathan) helping with the organization. Menzshed has also contributed to the planning process. “Kapiti Menzshed is a natural fit for the project in terms of fundraising and we are now looking for a commercial sponsor for the project. The budget is not large, but the exposure for anyone involved is huge” Dr O’Sullivan said. There will be ongoing media coverage throughout the competition. It is hoped to have prizes of $1000, $500 and $250 for first, second and third place, a gift voucher for category finalists and a trophy to be presented to the overall winner. A shed trail will be run along the lines of the garden or art trails, with category winners available for people to view. An award function will also be held with complimentary bubbly, music and finger food provided. Everyone is encouraged to come along, mix and mingle and enjoy the afternoon.

With the growth of the small spaces and tiny house movement, OPC is expecting the competition will be well received by the Kapiti community. There are numerous resources online and at public libraries to help people design small spaces and the best way to find out if the plans work is to give it a go. It need not cost a lot either, pallet wood has been used to good effect in some designs “I have already put out a challenge to Zeal Kapiti (youth organization) to come up with a shed, now it’s up to the rest” Dr O’Sullivan said.