Join NZ's biggest celebration of neighbourliness
23 February 2014
New Zealand’s biggest celebration of neighbourliness, Neighbours Day Aotearoa is back on the 29-30 of March to once again turn strangers into neighbours and streets into neighbourhoods.
Over the Neighbours Day weekend, thousands of neighbours around New Zealand will come together and create or strengthen relationships that will continue to enrich their lives long after the weekend has ended.
“Neighbourliness isn’t just a once-a-year thing,” says Neighbours Day Project Manager Kimberley Cleland. “The more we practise it, the stronger our communities grow. Neighbours Day is an amazing opportunity to celebrate neighbourliness, to meet the people we live alongside, and create healthy, resilient, and fun communities.”
Many neighbourhoods are well underway planning their Neighbours Day celebrations. Around New Zealand, people are organising street parties, weaving lessons, trips to the beach, gift swaps, and other neighbourly activities.
The Neighbours Day team is encouraging Kiwis to find out more about the people in their neighbourhoods, and find ways to pull together to help each other out. Keen gardeners, fishermen, or bakers could start a neighbourhood food swap, helping local families serve fresh and healthy food to their whānau. Sportsmen and women could form a social sports team, and local teenagers might be great babysitters for young ones.
“Neighbours Day is a great opportunity to find out what skills and resources the people in your street have to offer,” says Denise Bijoux from Inspiring Communities. “Coming together, pooling resources, and helping each other out is what Neighbours Day is all about.”
The recent Sovereign Wellbeing Survey found that only 30% of Kiwis connect socially with others more than once a week, and only a quarter of us feel connected to our local communities.
This has major effects on the wellbeing of individuals. People who feel isolated are more likely to experience depression, have less immunity to disease, have disrupted sleep, and feel more stressed.
“We can all make an effort to connect with our local communities,” says Mental Health Foundation Chief Executive Judi Clements. “Connected communities aren’t just stronger and more resilient; they’re healthier – mentally and physically.”
The Neighbours Day website features NDA success stories to inspire New Zealanders to participate in Neighbours Day. Participants who sign up through the website will be sent a resource pack with lots of great ideas to organise an NDA celebration that works for their neighbourhood. The campaign also use Facebook to connect with Kiwis and share NDA messages, ideas, and inspiration.
Join Neighbours Day at www.neighboursday.org.nz