In Channel Magazine we love highlighting people in our community who make a difference. Two local Devonport Peninsula people, Kate and Lauren, have created ‘Local Life NZ’ a social media entity doing similar online. We love what they do, so we’re now collaborating with them to include their content in print – monthly in Channel Mag. These are recent pieces they’ve done on Kwan from Five Loaves Cafe, Linda from Depot Artspace, and The Clay Store.
“During the first lockdown, we had zero income for the café and we had to think about how we were going to get back into business and how our staff were going to survive. These were things we could never have predicted.
“In situations like this, you just have to adjust. On the bright side, we’ve had a chance to plan some new menus and think about how we could do things differently. We’ll move on.”
Things have changed for Kwan. Over the past few months, she’s been doing Thai takeaways from the café - her Beef Massaman curry is a hit with locals. Her dream is one day to have an evening café specialising in Thai food.
“Covid-19 has made us think along different lines,” she says. “And anything’s possible.”
— Kwan Limcharoen, Five Loaves cafe
“When we first saw this space back in 1994 we thought it would make a great arts centre and because there were a lot of bands in Devonport at the time, we thought we’d start developing a recording studio,” says Linda Blincko, creative director at the Depot and passionate supporter of many of the artists and musicians to have come out of Devonport.
“It was in a really bad state of repair when we took it on – we were standing ankle deep in water because the roof was half off. We didn’t have much funding back then so the cheapest way to build was using plastered, packed hay bales for the walls and community corrections guys to help us.
“It’s recorded some pretty well-known names — a young Gin Wigmore, the Checks, Graham Candy and the Warratahs. What I love most about the Depot is its diversity and uniqueness. We have student bands here and we value them just as much.
“During Covid-19 we worked really hard to keep our community connected. Creative people are often working independently, and they were finding the vacuum of support a lot harder to deal with.”
— Linda Blincko, Depot Artspace (Depot Sound is part of Depot Artspace)
The Clay Store
“We fix everything, including broken hearts,” says George, who’s been a member of the community workshop known as the Clay Store for nearly 20 years.
Originally the site of an old gasworks, the Clay Store takes its name from the clay that was brought in to make the pipes for all the gasworks around the country. It was started in 1982 when local dockyard workers who’d taken early retirement needed something to occupy their days. A band of brothers tinkering with wood and metal working machinery in a disused factory seemed like the next best thing to a man cave.
The Clay Store is run on donations and staffed by a team of 20 volunteers, who include former environmental scientists, airline pilots, solicitors, sailors, wood turners and chemical engineers ranging in age from 70 to 99. The community workshop is a haven of bench saws, sanding machines, drill presses and lathes – some of which have been lovingly restored from their dockyard days. Anyone can come in and use the machinery for a small fee, although the volunteers are only too happy to lend a hand.
If you have a story you would like to share or know of a local hero, contact Kate Dobbin & Lauren Lulu Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Local Life NZ on Facebook and Instagram – @LocalLifeNZ