Love thy neigh­bour . . .

Es­pe­cially in an emer­gency

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By NI­COLE BAX­TER

En­joy­ing bar­be­cues, bak­ing and back­yard cricket this week­end may prove to be vi­tal dis­as­ter sur­vival tools, say the or­gan­is­ers of Neigh­bours Day Aotearoa.

This week­end marks the sec­ond an­nual Neigh­bours Day, which this year fo­cuses on the value of a strong com­mu­nity in civil emer­gen­cies.

Plim­mer­ton res­i­dents are keen to show ev­ery day holds op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet new neigh­bours. For­mer Kapiti Col­lege teacher Alis­ter Brown has lived in Plim­mer­ton for 30 years. He has been the type of pos­i­tive role model Neigh­bours Day en­cour­ages all year round.

Lo­cals say he fre­quently gives away his home-grown veg­eta­bles and picks up rub­bish on his way to church.

‘‘When­ever I go for a walk, I take a plas­tic bag and pick up any tin cans that I walk past and re­cy­cle them for cash. And with a vege gar­den it’s just shar­ing the sur­plus, which is all part of be­ing neigh­bours,’’ says Mr Brown.

His neigh­bourly acts also in­clude check­ing on the el­derly ladies who live alone in the street when there are power fail­ures.

‘‘That’s part of neigh­bour­hood sup­port, mak­ing sure those that need help get it. We can look af­ter our­selves but some­times they can’t,’’ he says.

Af­ter the Can­ter­bury earth­quakes, it be­came clear that know­ing your neigh­bours was more im­por­tant than ever as ev­ery­one shared food and re­sources.

‘‘It’s re­ally just set­ting up a lit­tle com­mu­nity – we keep an eye out for ev­ery- one else,’’ says Mr Brown.

The or­gan­is­ers of Neigh­bours Day Aotearoa want to see strong, con­nected, fun, friendly and safe neigh­bour­hoods across New Zealand.

Rachel Wy­bourne Curtin, also from Plim­mer­ton, has helped to or­gan­ise a street bar­be­cue ev­ery De­cem­ber for nine years. She says it’s help­ful to know your neigh­bours for your chil­dren’s safety so they have a fa­mil­iar house to go to if they need help.

‘‘If it wasn’t for the bar­be­cue and get­ting to know ev­ery­one, then we couldn’t help each other out. Peo­ple would rally round in an emer­gency even if they don’t know peo­ple by name.’’

Mrs Wy­bourne Curtin says hav­ing the event in the street makes it eas­ier as there’s no pres­sure on any­one in par­tic­u­lar to host it. It’s a bring-your-own event, so there’s also no com­pe­ti­tion on who’s bring­ing the best plate.

‘‘We in­clude any­one with any con­nec­tion to the street, past and present, chil­dren, ev­ery­one’s wel­come and in­cluded. Ev­ery­one has their lit­tle tra­di­tions which makes this event quite spe­cial.’’

Neigh­bours Day was ini­ti­ated in France in 1990. Around 450 cities in Europe were cel­e­brat­ing it by 2005. In 2009, Auck­land cel­e­brated Neigh­bours Day, be­fore it be­came a na­tion­wide ini­tia­tive in 2011.

Neigh­bours Day week­end is March 24-25. For more info and ideas visit neigh­bours­

Ni­cole Bax­ter is Jour­nal­ism stu­dent



Fine ex­am­ple: Plim­mer­ton res­i­dents Alis­ter and Bar­bara Brown are en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to con­nect with their neigh­bours more, whether it’s so­cial or prac­ti­cal, like shar­ing pro­duce.

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