The Koha Shed

From Spectrum, 12:05 pm on 21 June 2015

Koha Ascot Park Koha Shed organiser Josi Lancaster with daughter Donna Mikaere
Josie Lancaster with daughter and main helper Donna Mikaere. Josie dubs Donna the Koha Shed's mascot.

I just love helping people and that’s why I set up the Koha Shed.

– Josie Lancaster

A Koha Shed is a kind of op shop where everything is free and no money is involved. Of course, the Koha Sheds have sprung up out of severe need in these hard times. Koha Sheds have generated good will and trust in the community – those receiving also give when they can, so the system is not exploited.

Koha storage area
The Koha Shed's always overflowing storage area.

Josie’s Koha Shed in Ascot Park is one of a growing network in the Porirua region. People bring all manner of goods to the shed – clothes, toys, books, furniture, the list is long – to help those in need in the community.

People meet and chat as well give and receive.

Of course, the shed is a boon for beneficiaries and the low-paid. But people show up in Josie’s basement for all kinds of reasons. A teenage girl sifts through the clothes hangers, she’s had her luggage stolen while bussing down from Hamilton and has no money to buy new clothes.

This teenager had her luggage stolen and is looking for things to ward off the winter chills.

Spectrum’s Jack Perkins finds out how it all works and talks with the givers and receivers of koha (Maori for gift).

Koha Te Hohipera
She's grateful for this boxful of pre-loved clothes to replace her stolen wardrobe.