30 Years of woodcraft

Our passion is to create memorable items from the wide range of both native and exotic timbers available in New Zealand, and to share our skills with others such as yourself.

30 years of woodworking

Many of us have recently had the opportunity to see the video of some leaders of our craft. It is now on the home page of our website. Displayed right are some examples of their work.

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Star carvers grace Waikato Guild of Woodworkers’ 30th anniversary


By Sija Soman

Members of the Waikato Guild of Wood Workers recently celebrated three decades of sharing and improving woodcraft in the region. A commemorative event held at the Woodworkers’ Hall at 8 Storey Avenue on Saturday highlighted the contributions made by its members as they reminisced about key milestones in their journey.

“It is worth mentioning the unwavering commitment and dedication shown by our members in the development of the Guild. By supporting the younger generation of wood turners and carvers we will continue to promote and improve the industry,” Grant Taylor, President of the Guild said.

Star carvers Megan Godfrey, Derek Kirkwood, Roger Dean and Hugh Oliver were among the attendees. Their extraordinary craftwork in wood has embellished the city’s open and indoor spaces.

Derek received the Patrons’ award for his outstanding contribution to the Guild. It was his handholding that helped the Guild surmount initial challenges. What started as a gathering of like-minded woodcarvers to discuss a piece of work in 1984 later grew into an institution, an awesome centre for learning under his guidance and teaching. It later went beyond carving and marquetry into woodturning from which the Waikato Guild of Woodworkers evolved.

Most people will be familiar with the intricate wooden mural at Hamilton Gardens called ‘the depiction of real and imagined life’ which is a creation of Derek and his exceptionally talented student Megan. “Sharpening your tools is the hardest thing to teach. It takes more time to sharpen your tools than learning the craft,” says Derek.

“One way you can achieve a healthy mind is by getting into woodworks. There is something about carving wood that balances you out. During the Covid-19 lockdown, all our members stayed healthy. I strongly believe that woodworking gives you a break from life’s travails,” Peter Watt, a member of the Guild, said.

The members are passionate about creating memorable items from a wide range of both native and exotic timbers available in New Zealand, and share their skills with others. On display at the event were some exceptional creations of the members, made from cow bone, camellia wood, fossils, obsidian and native timbers The Guild consists of eighty members and is inspiring the young generation to learn and explore woodcraft.

Want to learn some wood carving or turning? You are welcome to join the Guild’s weekly workshops and classes for a small fee. Members will have opportunities to visit other clubs, workshops and places that interest woodworkers. For more information, visit www.woodworkersguild.org.nz