Good Neighbours Make for Great Communities

22 March 2011

New Zealanders all over the nation will be getting to know their neighbours a little bit better this weekend.

Neighbours Day Aotearoa (it's actually an entire weekend - 26 and 27 March) is a wonderful way to break the ice, share a cuppa and make a connection with those who live next door, share our streets and communities.

It all began in Auckland in with the 'Know Your Neighbours' project, which grew to became Neighbours Day in 2009 and then expanded nationwide in 2010. People all over the world celebrate and you can see what other countries have planned at:

Neighbours Day website

Neighbours Day is also a good way to celebrate our diverse suburbs and neighbourhoods.

"The recent tragedy in Christchurch has particularly highlighted the need to know who our neighbours are.  In an emergency, we often rely on those living nearby," Mayor Celia Wade-Brown relates.  "Let's make sure we know where our most vulnerable neighbours live and what help they might need." The first hour after an emergency is crucial and ninety percent of those needing assistance are rescued by neighbours.

Neighbours Day Aotearoa belongs to all of us. It's not about holding large-scale events, but getting together in our smaller communities, streets and shopping areas - organising a pot luck dinner, barbeque or community clean-up day. It's about getting to know one another better to build a stronger, more connected community. 

The Newlands Community Centre will see a free sausage sizzle with the local constable as chef for the day. Island Bay will be holding several 'meet your neighbours' parties and their local constable will provide information on emergency preparedness. Wellington City Council supports Neighbours Day Aotearoa and expects it to be even bigger and better next year. You can register your ideas or events on:

Neighbours Day website

Our lives are busy - we spend a good deal of time on the phone, in front of a computer or television. The personal connections are important. Knowing who lives next door or down the road is something we should encourage. It makes our neighbourhoods safer and friendlier place to live every day as well as in time of emergency.

"I hope everyone will have a chance to make a connection with at least one of their neighbours this weekend" encourages Mayor Wade-Brown. "Lean over the fence to share a laugh or just say hello - sometimes it's the little things that count the most."