The Cooperage @ Founders Park, Nelson, NZ

I was back in New Zealand for the first time in a number of years this last Christmas. One of Nelson’s little delights is Founders Park. It’s been there for years, and it’s really grown. If you like old things, outdoor museums, historical buildings & machinery, I suggest you don’t miss it.

So, on my recent visit, I was pleased to find a Cooperage! Nelson Cooperage, as it’s known, is believed to be the only remaining commercial cooperage in New Zealand.


I think this rocking chair is great. I’d love to try and make one. Maybe a bucket would be a more reasonable first time project.

I’ve done a number of different trade related courses over the years to help me in my job as a handyman, but one of the things I’ve been considering doing is some kind of coopering course. More to just experience it and find out what it’s actually like. I am aware it’s a hard job, but I think it would be interesting to learn a little bit. The trouble is, it’s a dying trade. I believe there is ONE Master Cooper left in the UK. A few years back, he made the news because he was looking for someone to teach as an apprentice.

In my searches for Coopering  courses, not a lot of results turn up. There are more ‘hits’ on the last UK Cooper looking for an apprentice. I’m aware of a place in the US that does a short course, so that may be an option to incorporate into a holiday one day, but wouldn’t it be great if I could learn in my own hometown? I’m not saying they offer training at the Nelson Cooperage, but I may just ask one day when I’m back in NZ.


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