Brightwater Motors, in the Nelson Tasman region, is teaching women the basics of car maintenance and mechanics for free with a monthly workshop called Chicks that Fix.
Dave Gilberd, who owns Brightwater Motors, said dozens of women attend the training sessions.
“We thought we’d do an evening workshop for people, but we hadn’t decided who that should be until a lady customer came in and told me that she’d spent days plucking up the courage just to book a simple service and she didn’t want to speak to her mechanic. So we thought, 'Let’s do it exclusively for women,' and since then we’ve been running Chicks that Fix,” Gilberd said.
“Some of them are sort of like, 'I’m embarrassed but I want to learn how to change a wheel,'” he said.
The training includes going through what is under the hood and chassis, wheel changes, oil changes, routine checks and leaks.
Karen Walsh attends Chicks that Fix and said because of the course, she can now confidently change a wheel.
“It’s taken the scariness away, which is great,” she said.
Walsh said Chicks that Fix makes her feel empowered.
“I think because it’s basically men do a lot of the work around them and so they don’t actually allow you in often, so now is our chance to get in and do it,” she said.
The workshops are held on the first Thursday of every month for free, but some women bring a donation.
“The koha goes to a local charity as chosen by the attendees on the night. The May session raised $92.50 for a local charity called Kai With Love,” Brightwater Motors co-owner Natalie Gilberd said.