Come to­gether

NZ Lifestyle Block - - FROM THE EDITOR - Nadene Hall, Edi­tor

I used to be a her­mit, and it’s easy to be one when you live in a ru­ral com­mu­nity. Shut the gate, don’t an­swer the phone, don’t take part. Re­duc­ing my size gave me the con­fi­dence to start ex­pand­ing my world, and it now in­cludes a lovely part­ner, two beau­ti­ful dogs and much big­ger cir­cles of peo­ple.

When Evie wit­nessed some sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour down our road a few weeks ago – it turns out my work­ing dog is an ace se­cu­rity guard when she’s not snooz­ing – it soon be­came ob­vi­ous that our im­me­di­ate com­mu­nity needed to reach out to each other in a more or­gan­ised fash­ion, rather than the odd wave driv­ing by, or a shouted hello across the pad­docks.

Most of the peo­ple who live around me work off-block and face a long daily com­mute – they’re busy peo­ple, work­ing long, stress­ful days. But when we asked if they wanted to meet up and dis­cuss start­ing a Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port group (www.ns.org.nz) we had the most amaz­ing re­sponse. Al­most ev­ery­one came along, and Lyn – the re­gional co-or­di­na­tor for Neigh­bour­hood Sup­port – told me it was un­usual to get such a big turnout. It was re­ally en­joy­able bring­ing peo­ple to­gether, even if all we did was get to know each other’s faces. As co-or­di­na­tor, I strug­gled a bit mar­ry­ing all the names to faces as I met so many peo­ple, my mind started go­ing blank, al­ways em­bar­rass­ing!

Lyn had some other wise words, based on her long ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in her own com­mu­nity: when you do some­thing like this, there’s no rule that says you have to be­come best friends or even like each other that much. The groups that work best are re­spect­ful and po­lite, and un­der­stand that look­ing out for each other is key to cre­at­ing a safer com­mu­nity for ev­ery­one.

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