Group makes Wanaka push
We all need good neighbours
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.