Group makes Wanaka push

We all need good neigh­bours

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By JESSICA MAD­DOCK

Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port is look­ing for Wanaka res­i­dents who are keen to set up groups in the town. There has been a surge in in­ter­est in Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port in Cen­tral Otago in re­cent years, par­tic­u­larly since the Can­ter­bury earth­quakes, with groups now well es­tab­lished in Alexan­dra, Clyde and Cromwell. Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port re­gional man­ager Sarah Hex­amer, of Dunedin, said she would like to see Wanaka, with its grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of per­ma­nent res­i­dents, fol­low Cen­tral Otago’s lead. ‘‘Wanaka is one of the ar­eas we would like to get to, but we need com­mu­nity lead­ers to come to us and say ‘we want to do it, how do we go about it’.’’ A re­view of the Civil De­fence re­sponse to the Christchurch earth­quake in Fe­bru­ary 2011 found co­or­di­na­tion of com­mu­nity groups other than Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port and marae was ‘‘al­most non-ex­is­tent for some time’’. Ms Hex­amer said Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port en­cour­aged peo­ple to get to know each other and to set up emer­gency re­sponse plans. It was also a proven crime de­ter­rent. Though many peo­ple had sup­port­ive friend­ships with their neigh­bours, if an of­fi­cial group did not ex­ist Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port could not help dur­ing an emer­gency, she said. The or­gan­i­sa­tion kept a data­base of its mem­bers so they could be con­tacted dur­ing an emer­gency. Na­tion­ally, the num­ber of Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port groups had grown markedly in the past five years. The or­gan­i­sa­tion had en­deav­oured to set up groups in Queen­stown in 2010 but few had been suc­cess­ful, due the largely tran­sient pop­u­la­tion.

Keep in touch: Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port re­gional man­ager Sarah Hex­amer.

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