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Cantabrians encouraged to roll out welcome mat this weekend

23 March 2012

Cantabrians encouraged to roll out welcome mat this weekend

Do you still know who your neighbours are?
Have you popped round to see the new family who just moved in next door?
How strong are your local connections more than a year after the quakes?

The situation in the Canterbury region remains in a state of flux and our communities are changing daily - people continue to leave or are shifting to temporary accommodation while houses and streets are repaired. At the same time, there’s a steady stream of new people moving in to support us in the rebuild.

This weekend (24, 25 March) is the annual celebration of Neighbour's Day Aotearoa (NDA). All over the country, people are being encouraged to ‘Roll out the Welcome Mat' and connect with their neighbours.

Now is the time to build on the great work we Cantabrians have done together. We have developed a resilient network of links to each other and we are a strong city of well-connected people. Let's show the country that we still have plenty of that Canterbury spirit to share.

Roll out the welcome mat… this is still a great place to live!

We have become renowned for the community spirit we have built and sustained in the wake of the earthquakes. All over the region, we have seen countless inspiring stories of neighbours supporting neighbours, and of communities coming together to work through the tough times.

We do this stuff well, so why not also treat this weekend as an opportunity to give ourselves a collective pat on the back? Let’s thank each this weekend for the neighbourly spirit that has helped get us through.

A word of support for NDA from other groups

"CERA supports any initiatives which promote neighbourliness and stronger community connections." Lucy D'Aeth, Community Resilience Manager

"Being neighbourly increases our social connections, helping to create a healthy city." Michelle Whittaker, Healthy Christchurch

Welcome MAT tips from the Mental Health Foundation:

It can be hard to meet people in a new neighbourhood, so the gesture of greeting new neighbours can make an excellent first impression and may lead to great relationships that can hold you in good stead for years to come.

MEET – Make some time to meet your neighbours in person, tell them you are there to welcome them to the neighbourhood. Keep it short -moving can be stressful without spending lots of time at the front door with neighbours looking for long yarns… Let them know who you are, leave a note with your contact number or your house number and names, and let them know you are available to help.

ACT – Follow up your offer of help. Making a hot meal that can be refrigerated or frozen will hit the spot for new neighbours settling in. Consider a recyclable container so they don’t have to worry about returning the dish. Children are really great at coming up with their own ways of helping; if you have children in the house, get them involved Helping a neighbour at any time will make them feel valued and welcomed.

TALK – Gather some information on the local area, nearby restaurants, rubbish bin days, library, community centres, resident associations, maps, community newsletters or local events calendar. Are there trusted local services, market gardens and babysitters you can recommend? Continue to smile and wave when you see them, it helps maintain your connection.

Supported by Healthy Christchurch

Further information

Neighbourliness: the relevance of local connections to mental wellbeing and positive mental health
Neighbours Day Aotearoa website.


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