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Neighbours Day – get to know your neighbours in 2012

27 February 2012

Countdown to Neighbours Day – join in and get to know your neighbours in 2012

Do you know there are more than 100 ways to say hello to your neighbours in New Zealand?

Kia Ora, Goeie More, Malo e leilei, Namoshkar, Ni Hao, Sai tahay, Talofa, Bog, G’day, Jambo, Apa khabar, Chao, Nameste, Ahoj, Oy, Dydd da, Merhaba, Halo and sign language are just some of the options.

Neighbours Day Aotearoa – running over the weekend of 24-25 March 2012 – is your chance to put some of these greetings into practice and connect with the people that live, behind, beside, in front and across the road from you.

The annual celebration, which began in Auckland in 2009 and ran nationally for the first time last year, has been very successful.

John McCarthy, General Manager Lifewise says the weekend is a chance for people to get to know their neighbours (if they don’t already) and to grow local connections with the people who live around them.

“Neighbours Day Aotearoa is not about big events. It’s about everyday kiwis, reaching over their fence and engaging with their neighbours. There are a lot of inspirational stories and ideas on the website to get people thinking,” he says.

“It could be as simple as waving and saying hello to neighbours you don’t know, sharing a cuppa or asking your neighbour if they need a hand with anything - right through to putting on a street party or BBQ.

“We’d love kiwis to show a little neighbourliness this Neighbours Day - by going to the website www.neighboursday.org.nz, signing up and then downloading the ideas and tools they think would work best in their street.”

Campaign manager, Rebecca Harrington, says the most important thing for people to remember is that it’s never too late to turn the strangers next door into great neighbours.

“Neighbourliness is a choice,” she says. “Everyone has something to offer and by making an effort you will be putting the heart back into your local community.

“Last year Neighbours Day proved that people in neighbourhoods all over New Zealand are keen to get to know each other and forge stronger bonds, and the response to this year’s campaign indicates people are still passionate about this,” she says. “People all over New Zealand are already thinking creatively about how they would like to connect with their neighbours.”

In Te Atatu, Auckland, Jonathan Hickman is involved in Neighbours Day for the first time. He sees it as an opportunity to get to know the people that live around him.

“This is the first year that I’ve been involved and I think I will probably go fishing and then take a snapper to my next door neighbour,” he says. "Another neighbour who lives behind us might drop by too"

"I think it’s really good to know the people around you. It’s nice for the kids to have neighbours that will say hello to them and it’s also good to know that people are keeping an eye on each other.”

Kim MacDonald is the Neighbourhood Support Coordinator for Nelson. She works with 391 neighbourhood groups (from 4 households through to 44 people in a heritage precinct) and says that Neighbours Day Aotearoa is special because it promotes small groups of neighbours building good relationships.

“It’s not about a big city-wide event, it’s about people having fun and getting to know each other, so that when things turn to custard there is someone nearby who they can call on,” she says.

This year, Kim’s running a local Neighbours Day competition with goodie pack prizes – including a cake to share, a BBQ meat pack and skip hire - which any group of Nelson neighbours can put their details in a draw for.

Judi Clements, Chief Executive Mental Health Foundation, says, “Neighbours Day Aotearoa is about encouraging local activity in every street and neighbourhood.

“It’s about building connected, caring and safe communities, which are resilient and support the individuals and families within them.

“Stronger neighbourhoods are good for our health and wellbeing and help us learn to connect with a variety of people and honour our combined heritage.”

Ian Leader, National Manager of Inspiring Communities, another organisation involved in the campaign, adds, “Great neighbours are the foundation of great communities. Neighbours Day Aotearoa is a wonderful celebration and catalyst for people to be more connected to their neighbours and community.

“We urge people to get involved and sign up at www.neighboursday.org.nz before the end of March.”

Neighbours Day Aotearoa would like to thank to sponsors, Signify for providing the new website, and Bell Tea for supporting the Neighbours Day Aotearoa 2012 resource kit (available online).

To read about four neighbours making a difference in their streets go to http://www.neighboursday.org.nz/stories

To get Neighbours Day Aotearoa (NDA) resources for yourself, your community, your business or your local government go to www.neighboursday.org.nz/join-in

You will find:

Neighbourhood resource pack
NDA Business tips
• NAD Community resources
Ideas pack one
Ideas pack two

For further information about the four NDA campaign partners visit the following links: Lifewise, Inspiring Communities, Neighbourhood Support New Zealand and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

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Twitter @lifewisenz

ENDS

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