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Good Neighbour Survey explores what makes a ‘good neighbour’

Good Neighbour Survey explores what makes a ‘good neighbour’

Less than half of Kiwis consider themselves to be a great neighbour compared with the majority of Americans*.

Just 41 per cent of respondents in the 2014 Good Neighbour survey claim to be a great neighbour, compared with 92 per cent of Americans*.

The Good Neighbour survey is the first survey by Neighbourly, designed to explore how ‘neighbourly’ Kiwis think they are, what being ‘neighbourly’ means and what has prevented them from getting to know their neighbours better.

Neighbourly Co-founder Casey Eden says Kiwis may be a little hesitant to refer to themselves as ‘great’ neighbours.

“Kiwis can be a slightly conservative - so we’re perhaps a bit nervous about claiming to be anything better than the average neighbour,” he says. “One thing we’ve learned over the past few months is that many of us want to be better neighbours - and Neighbourly is certainly helping us to do that by creating innovative and easy opportunities for neighbours to connect.”

American-born Neighbourly member Mary Train, says compared with Americans, Kiwis are less likely to “make the first move but once they’re approached they’re great neighbours”.

“When I lived in the States, you couldn’t walk down the street without talking to neighbours on their front lawns,” she says. “Maybe it all boils down to who hangs out on the stoop? My most vivid memory of how American neighbours are really wonderful is this: after a very damaging hurricane in Houston, Texas a few years back, one side of the street had power and the other didn't. What did the neighbourhood do? They ran extension cords across the street. For weeks!

“Here in New Zealand I’ve had my plants taken care of by my neighbour and had a few others over for tea. Whilst Kiwis might not be as comfortable bowling up to their neighbour’s front door, they’re more than comfortable rocking up to someone’s backyard barbecue!”

While there’s plenty of room for improvement in how Kiwis perceive themselves as neighbours, just five per cent say they’re not a good neighbour.

Saying hello to one another (87.2%), asking for help and offering help to a neighbour in need (86.9%) and collecting each other’s mail when on holiday (86.3%) were the top responses to the question ‘What does being neighbourly to you?’. 11.5% think being neighbourly means catching up once a month**.

Other responses include “being kind and considerate”, “sharing resources and lending tools”, “encouraging our children to be friends”, “checking our elderly neighbours are okay”, “welcoming new people to the neighbourhood” and “feeding each other’s pets”.

The majority (90%) of respondents said it was ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important to have ways to communicate easily with their neighbours.

“Neighbourly is a tool for neighbours to break down those initial barriers,” adds Eden. “For me personally, I was always a bit standoffish about meeting my neighbours, but through Neighbourly I’ve made so many new connections within my neighbourhood and I’m currently organising a Christmas get together. I feel like I’m definitely a better neighbour than I was a few months ago.”

Summary of results from the 2014 Good Neighbour Survey

• 90 per cent believe it’s important to have an easy way to communicate with their neighbours

• 78.6 per cent have at least one neighbour they can borrow a cup of sugar from

• 81.4 per cent would like a Neighbourly sticker for their letterbox to identify their Neighbourly membership

• 85.5 per cent want to know their neighbours better

• 70.8 per cent cite ‘not seeing their neighbours around’ as the reason for not knowing them better

• 42.4 per cent know a few or a lot less neighbours compared with when they were growing up

• 70 per cent aren’t aware of gatherings in the neighbourhood

Neighbourly launched in June 2014 after a successful two month pilot in Auckland and now has a membership of almost 60,000 members. This month, Auckland suburb St Heliers reached a membership of 1000 neighbours - the first suburb in New Zealand to reach this milestone.

Neighbourly received 1381 responses from Neighbourly members to learn more about what New Zealanders think makes a good neighbour in October 2014. For more information on Neighbourly visit

* Harris Interactive Survey 2014

** Respondents could select more than one response to this survey question.

A full list of individual responses is available. Please see contact details below.


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