Don’t stereotype Ponsonby builder and The Great Kiwi Bake Off competitor Thomas Anderson as a tradie surrounded by bro culture.
“I think builders in general get stereotyped a lot. We don’t all sit around and have pies every day for lunch, while talking about cars – not that I don’t love a good pie, I do,” Anderson told Spy.
The 38-year-old thinks that, in New Zealand in particular, the majority of tradies are still men, which leads to a massive “bro culture”, which he thinks can be quite damaging.
“As a builder, I’ll often meet people who do fit into a certain type of mould and express, let’s say, more ‘traditional values’. Sexist jokes, homophobic slurs etc. Several times I’ve found myself having to challenge those perceptions,” he says.
Hosts of The Great Kiwi Bake Off Madeleine Sami and Hayley Sproull.
Going on Bake Off, the second episode of which screens on Thursday night on TVNZ1, is a way for Anderson to challenge stereotypical guys, to get them to celebrate baking as much as they would, say a barbecue.
“You can still be a lad and make a pretty cake. Trust me, nobody is going to argue when they’re eating that cake,” he says.
Anderson used his building skills and that train of thought in the Bake Off barn.
“There are occasions where I quite literally whip out the tools to help me with certain bakes. I knew I could use some building skills and maybe a bit of engineering ingenuity to achieve the show-stopper challenges, to show how I was thinking outside the box.
“Being a builder, you have to think on your feet a lot, like how do I make these plans become a reality and how are we going to achieve this.”
His boss and his fellow tradies have been super supportive and have always enjoyed the baking he brings to the site. His boss gave him all the time off he needed to live his baking dream and told him to remember them all when he was famous.
Will baking glory replace his building career?
“I love baking but I also love being a builder so I’ll stick to that for now.”