Neighbourliness encouraged to help build connections

Published on 17 March 2017

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Horowhenua District Councillor Jo Mason knows the value of neighbourliness. Cr Mason and her husband Ken moved into their new home in Levin a year ago, and she says they were soon made to feel very welcome.

“Our next-door neighbours Neville and Helen visited with a plate of scones and introduced themselves. They also introduced us to other neighbours and within no time we felt a real part of the immediate neighbourhood,” she said.

“There’s even a secret gardener nearby who, from time to time, will secretly leave a bag of beans or other vegetables on our doorstep, which is a nice gesture. It’s a good feeling to know.”

Cr Jo Mason says that better-connected neighbourhoods are stronger neighbourhoods, which also enhance the wellbeing of residents and communities, and this vision is shared by Horowhenua District Council.

“In the Long Term Plan, one of the outcomes the Council is committed to achieving is ‘safe, resilient and healthy communities’ and advocating for personal safety and security within the District,” she said.

“Having positive relationships and networks in neighbourhoods helps build community resilience, while as individuals feeling connected and supported to the people around us improves our social and mental wellbeing.”

Cr Mason’s next-door neighbours Neville, a keen gardener, and Helen Currie have lived in their current home for 26 years.

“It is nice to live somewhere where neighbours look out for one another. We’re not in each other’s pockets, but we can be there for friendship and support,” Helen said.

Fellow neighbour Denise Marino, a resident for nine years, agrees; saying all it takes is simple friendliness.

“If you see each other outside, you wave, smile and say hello. Sometimes you may have a chat. Yes, it’s nice.”

Neighbours Day Aotearoa is coming up on the weekend of 25 and 26 March. The collaborative nationwide campaign acts as a catalyst for people to connect with their neighbours, believing that every connection people have with their neighbours makes their neighbourhood more friendly, fun and safe.

For more info and updates, visit www.neighboursday.org.nz or the Neighbours Day Aotearoa page on Facebook. People can sign-up to receive ideas on what to do and links to resources such as editable invites for get-togethers with their neighbours.

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Neighbours Helen and Neville Currie, Jo Mason and Denise Marino enjoy morning tea and cake.

Horowhenua District Council would like to thank New World Levin for donating the cakes used in these articles to promote Neighbours Day Aotearoa.