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Beyond the orange door at 6 Vivian street in Wellington’s CBD, stairs lead to a Weta Workshop inspired ‘cave’ entered through medieval style iron doors operated by a thumb print recognition system. In the main workshop, Makerspace founder Lee Bennett espouses the wonders of technology to Spectrum’s Jack Perkins, while Wolf Hatch focuses the beam of a laser cutter.

Once the laser is focused, Wolf Hatch will begin cutting a programmed pattern in the material.

Lifelong innovator and ideas man Lee Bennett has created a workshop space where he and assistant Wolf Hatch encourage young and old to experiment with technology, think like entrepreneurs and sow the seeds for future Kiwi businesses. Englishman Lee Bennett has taught technology in high schools, developed military training simulators, repaired navy helicopters. More recently, he worked as a prop-maker and special-effects technician at Weta Workshops and restored World War 1 aircraft for Peter Jackson’s company Vintage Aviator.

Lee Bennett (left) and a customer inspect the workings of a radio-controlled helicopter.

Lee Bennett’s latest idea is to set up an Innovation Centre where venture capitalists and bankers meet technology innovators and people who think outside the square. Ideas would flow and firm into projects and businesses which could benefit and broaden New Zealand’s economy.

Visit their website for more about Makerspace.