News | 26 March 2021
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Neighbours Day: More of our community heroes

Neighbours Day Aotearoa is about fostering a sense of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga within our communities to make them stronger.

In this two-part series, we highlight some of the great mahi the people in our neighbourhoods are doing to build connections and ensure everyone feels welcome.

Children playing on the field with a volleyball net and classrooms in the background at Kahurangi School in Strathmore.

Making sport accessible for tamariki

The Wellington City Mission set up Sports Banks across the Wellington region about three years ago, to give children in need the opportunity to try out and play sports. These Sports Banks receive donated equipment and gear which is free to children, who otherwise may not be able to afford the gear or fees to participate.

“We work alongside sports clubs and community groups to host Sports Play Days in the regions to get kids active, but also to connect families with the City Mission’s wider work and their communities,” says Ray Tuffin, the Community Development Manager at the City Mission.

Neighbourhood Resilience Advisor at Wellington City Council, Mark Noyes, says that Ray has been instrumental in the establishment of the Sports Banks and the Community Lounge, which has helped build social connections and relationships across Newtown.

To learn more about the City Mission’s work, visit their website. To find out about Play Days near you, follow our Facebook Events page.

Building a neighbourhood hub around kai

In an old commercial building on Garrett Street, you will now find a collection of apartments, where Sarah Lee and her flatmates are working hard at making their community stronger.

“We are just 10 people living in this historic flat in Welly, which has a legacy of being a hub of creativity where artists, activists and people from all over come together.”

Sarah and her flatmates host a weekly dinner where anyone is welcome, whether they live in the building or not. All they have to do is bring a dish or their favourite pizza topping, and the rest is ready when they arrive.

“It’s about creating a space for people to feel like they are a part of something. It’s the best way to honour the space in an authentic way. I’ve seen people create dreams together, start new hobbies, create new friends, and find new pathways and opportunities that may not happen outside of this space."

Sarah says that these dinners see around 20-30 people turn up each week. 

“We see so many different people, with different stories, all from different backgrounds. We love hosting these nights – they’re extremely heart-warming.”

Resilience within the community

Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi marae in Newlands hosts Neighbours Day events every year in partnership with Newlands Community Centre and a variety of community groups and businesses. 

Leighsah Rawiri from Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi marae says the aim of these events is to strengthen their community through fun activities, displays, and demonstrations in a safe space for families, groups and individuals.

And of course, a visit to the marae would not be complete without sharing a hāngi meal together.

“Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi marae and Newlands are unique places in the northern suburbs. Everyone involved in our events believe that manaakitanga, whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga for ourselves, our community and our environment will make us stronger, making our community a supportive and resilient place.”

Find out more about Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi marae and what events they have planned on their Facebook page.

For the full list of Neighbours Day events happening at our community centres, visit here. Want to organise your own community event? You can find resources here.