Makerspaces in NZ

In this post I am talking about our local makerspaces.


A look inside a makerspace

Do you have an idea for a creative project but lack the skills or the tools to get started?

Is it time to get out of the shed and join a group of like-minded people?

Do you have the skills and expertise but no one to share your knowledge with?


Would your children enjoy learning how to programme robots, make zines or build software?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then I suggest you visit your local makerspace.

 What are makerspaces?

Makerspaces are environments that are set-up to inspire innovation, grow technological literacy and promote community interaction and knowledge sharing. Makerspaces provide a range of high and low tech equipment and materials. They will often run classes as well as unstructured ‘open’ sessions where people work on their projects without a tutor.

Check out this definition of makerspaces.


Makercrate in Christchurch

Makercrate in Christchurch







Where are our makerspaces?

In New Zealand makerspaces are set-up by local governments, community organisations and/or individuals.  They are found in public libraries, community centres, commercial premises and even a shipping container.

Read this story about Lee and Steve who set up The Wellington Makerspace, in a purpose built premises, in Vivien Street.


kids enjoying a mini maker session

Kids enjoying a mini maker session








What can you make at a makerspace?

You can make just about anything you want. People use them to create high-tech objects and virtual products and everyday items.

Tangleball, Auckland, have a workshop (and tools) where people can work on their wood or metal projects. According to Tangleball’s Facebook page people are busy making boats, converting cars into caravans and bottling fruit.

Have a look at what you can do at the makerspace TapLab in Te Atatu, Auckland.

Makerspaces liberate ideas and consumers

What I really like about makerspaces is that they cater for the following people.

  • Those who don’t want to watch a YouTube video to learn how to do something.
  • Individuals who can’t afford, or are opposed to paying for, tools and/or goods.
  • People that have a desire  for a creative community.
  • Those that have an idea and need help to make it.

Err, sorry, Tina Turner but makerspace users are doing it for themselves.

Have you ever been to a makerspace? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Makerspace directory





Makerspaces in public libraries

What are makerspaces?

Makerspaces are described by The Library as Incubator Project as “collaborative learning environments where people [of all ages] come together to share materials and learn new skills”.

I like to think of makerspaces as places where learning happens, stuff gets made and people have fun.

In a library’s makerspace you might find the following fabricating tools and technologies.

  • Vinyl cutters
  • Laser cutters
  • 3D printers
  • Sewing machines
  • Robotic kits
  • Electronic kits

At a library makerspace you can learn how to make a variety of things.

  • Produce an app
  • Create a ringtone
  • Make a Franken toy
  • Build and programme a robot
  • Design and print jewellery

Banana piano

Makerspaces and public libraries

Increasingly makerspaces are appearing in public libraries. Why?

Public libraries are by their very nature collaborative places. You can visit a library with an information need and a librarian will work with you to find the answer. What I think is nice about makerspaces is that they encourage collaborative learning between the users of the space. One of the things I have noticed working at a library, with a makerspace, is how often passers-by will step in to help, or to ask questions of, the people using it.

Check out these great makerspace activities that are happening in libraries around the world.


Girls making a robot

Makerspaces level the technological playing field

Public libraries are helping to bridge the technological divide by providing access to tools and technologies for people that otherwise wouldn’t get to use them.

Makerspaces have the potential to demystify science, math, technology and engineering for women and underrepresented minorities. This year Auckland Libraries ran the Geek Girl Tech Camp during which the girls participated in robotics, electronics, chemistry, engineering and programming activities.



I think the greatest thing about libraries’ makerspaces is that anyone can use them – irrespective of ability, project or age.

Unicorn by me aged 46 1/2

3D printed unicorn by me aged 46 1/2








What do you think about public libraries offering makerspaces?  Add your thoughts below.


Makerspace directory



Maker Spaces and 3D printing

How to choose your wedding cake

Here are our best tips for making choosing a cake the highlight of your wedding planning journey.

Give yourself plenty of time to plan

Allow 3 to 6 months for planning your cake design. This should give you enough time to decide on the style and flavour of the cake and to find a baker to make it. Ask the baker how much notice they require; if your wedding is in spring or summer you may need to order 4 months in advance as this is the busiest time for them.

Where to find your cake design inspiration

Inspiration for your cake design can be found in many places, but for starters you should ask yourself some questions about the location and style of your wedding. Is the wedding inside or outside? Is it in a church or on the beach? Is it formal or relaxed?

A formal church wedding suits a cake design with a strong ‘traditional’ aesthetic. For less formal weddings the cake design can be less conventional. Location-themed cakes are on-trend with some couples choosing seashell decorations for a beach wedding, or fresh flowers for a park wedding.

Get your creativity flowing by researching current trends in wedding cake design online, viewing websites such as Pinterest and looking at bridal magazines.

How to choose your flavour

Picking the flavour of your wedding cake is one of the few opportunities in life where you get to try lots of different cakes in one sitting . Most cake makers offer cake tasting sessions.  You can use the theme of the dinner menu to dictate the cake’s flavour – for instance a Middle Eastern or Italian themed meal would suit an orange or almond cake. Bridebox make some great suggestions about how to successfully taste wedding cakes.

 Selecting a cake designer

Word of mouth is a very effective way of finding a cake designer so ask your newly married friends for recommendations. Philippe Erramuzpe, the owner of Philippe’s Catering suggests asking the opinion of “a photographer or a videographer. They usually have tasted a lot of cakes.”

You can get an idea of a company’s suitability by looking at the testimonials and gallery on their website. It is also a good idea to talk with them and ask them if they have the skill necessary to reproduce your vision. Keep looking until you find someone you feel a rapport with and can trust to get the job done.

Related articles: Selecting a wedding cake


Wedding cake decoration trends 2016

Even cakes are not immune to the cyclical nature of trends. The wedding cakes of my childhood were always white, multi-tiered with columns between the layers, and decorated with a thick blanket of fondant and intricately piped royal icing. Forty years later and this style of cake is making a return, albeit, minus the tacky plastic columns. This year the key trends are texture and volume.


We could be describing a 1980s wedding dress when we say frills and ruffles. In decoration terms, both are perfect for creating texture and volume. Choose fondant for a formal wedding or buttercream for a less structured looking cake. Ruffles look great in any colour; horizontal frills particularly suit the ombre style of colouring (icing that is coloured light to dark).


Roses are the flower of romance so they are a fitting decorative motif for a wedding cake. Rosettes can be used on their own or in combination with other decorating techniques. On their own they make an impressive statement especially on multi tiered cakes. Rosettes look particularly elegant in ivory or white fondant.


The Duchess of Cambridge, and her Alexander McQueen lace wedding dress, is credited with inspiring the trend for lace decorated cakes. Using the fabric or the lace pattern of a brides’ dress is a great way of tying the cake into the look of your wedding. This style of decoration is most effective using an ivory base overlaid with white fondant.


A cake certain to please even the most picky of mother-in-laws, this style of decoration pays homage to the wedding cakes of generations past. This decoration signals a return to the tradition of covering a cake with a smooth sheet of uncoloured fondant and embellishing it with white royal-icing appliques and piped details. What makes this cake modern is the combination of tiers in different and non-traditional shapes, like hexagons and ovals.

 What are your favourite cake decorating trends this year?  Let us know in the comments.