Hundreds of Housing New Zealand tenants from across the country came together to connect with their neighbours to celebrate Neighbours Day 2019.
The new pātaka kai (neighbourhood pantry) created by residents
Tenants have organised about 50 Neighbours Day events from last Friday to the end of March, ranging from movie nights to street parties, barbecues, gardening activities, clean ups, sharing a cup of tea and pot luck meals.
At Felix Street in Onehunga in Auckland over 50 neighbours gathered for a BBQ lunch, community clean up and launched their pātaka kai – a neighbourhood pantry.
Tenants Malaina and Tina who helped organise the event said it was amazing to see their neighbours laughing together, sharing food and making quick work of cleaning up their neighbourhood using two skip bins that were provided by HNZ.
In Papakura, residents at the McLennan development held a finger food feast, where everyone was welcome to come and share food and try their hand at some creative arts and crafts. People painted rocks to hide in the pocket parks as part of a treasure hunt, and upcycled bags from old t-shirts, while learning to be more clean and green.
A couple who just moved into the neighbourhood only five days ago said the event made them feel really welcome and at home.
Children painted special Neighbours Day rocks for a treasure hunt
“It’s so easy to stay in a house and not interact with people. This activity is a really good ice breaker, with the rock paining too”, says Sayumi.
These two events are a great example of HNZ tenants collaborating with the wider community to organise some fun events that encourage connections between neighbours.
HNZ's Community Development Team believes getting to know your neighbours is an important part of building safer, more connected communities.
“It fosters a sense of wellbeing, helps people feel that they belong and reduces loneliness”, Community Development Manager Karen says.
“If you know your neighbour, you feel more comfortable having a chat over the fence or in the stairwell, which is a good starting point to help build relationships with those living nearby.”
Over the next week, HNZ tenants throughout the country will participate in more tenant-led Neighbours Day events, continuing to foster thriving neighbourhoods.
Neighbours Day Aotearoa is a collaborative campaign organised and supported by:
The Mental Health Foundation
Christchurch Methodist Mission
New Zealand Red Cross
Neighbourhood Support New Zealand and
Housing New Zealand.
This year the event has been expanded to run over ten days from 22 to 31 March 2019.