(Everybody Needs Good) Neighbours Day [Guest]

Sorry, couldn’t resist the reference to my fond 1990s memories of Kylie and Jason at 7pm, five nights a week.

Anyway. Welcome to Anna S, regular Sacraparental conversationalist, who celebrated Neighbours Day last year with great success. I’m keen to do something this year to follow up on our Pancake Party with the neighbours, and I thought y’all might be keen too, given a little advance warning. 

In principle, I love the idea of neighbours.  In practice, I could do a lot better, and I have periodically wondered about how to get started being more neighbourly.

Thankfully the good people at Neighbours Day Aotearoa have done some of the thinking for me, and have provided a ready-made reason to break the ice and start talking to the people I live near.

The idea behind Neighbours Day is to ‘turn streets into neighbourhoods’, by encouraging people to get to know and support the people in their community.

A mere 2.5 years after first hearing about it, I finally had a go at organising a Neighbours Day gathering in my street last year.  I wanted to:

a.  meet people, in a setting that wasn’t too much of a burden to plan or do (especially with Auckland’s delightfully unpredictable weather)
b.  provide a space for people to connect with each other
c.  begin to understand what needs exist amongst my neighbours.

Neighbours Day Aotearoa, getting to know your neighbours, how to get to know your neighbours, hospitality, Christian parenting

Clearly, no expense was spared in the signage for the event! (Photograph by Anna.)

With those aims in mind, my flatmates and I invited everyone in our (short) street to a potluck afternoon tea, and then waited in nervous anticipation to see what happened.

The very exciting thing was that people actually turned up!  Even Ginger the Friendly Community Cat popped in to say hello to his favourite adopted humans.  I met a girl guide leader, a 19 day old baby, a guy who has run the London marathon three times, a sousaphone seller (yes, really!) and a face painter.  Of the three dozen houses on the street, I met people from over a third of them.  Success!  Although our street hasn’t been magically transformed into a tight-knit community since then (at least, not that I’m aware of), I’ve definitely found it easier to be more neighbourly.

A year has very quickly passed since then.  The baby must now be almost 1 year and 19 days old, because Neighbours Day is coming up again on the weekend of 29-30 March, and I’m thinking of ideas for what to do.  I’m keen to hear your ideas … how have you got to know your neighbours?  What things make it easier or harder to be neighbourly?

If you are keen to give Neighbours Day a go, their website has loads of ideas for getting started.

Neighbours Day Aotearoa, getting to know your neighbours, how to get to know your neighbours, hospitality, Christian parenting, Neighbours Day 2014 date

Anna is a full time scientist, part time baker and occasional photographer.

Jump on board with Neighbours Day! As Anna says, there are lots of resources (even ready-made invitations) to make it as easy as possible at Neighbours Day Aotearoa

Do you have stories to share about getting to know your neighbours? We’d love to hear them in the comments below or in a guest post. More from me, too, soon.

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10 comments on “(Everybody Needs Good) Neighbours Day [Guest]”

  1. Georgie Rynhart Reply

    We found out about Neighbours Day a week before the one last year, and organised an afternoon tea for our street on our front lawn. We are lucky enough to live in a cul-de-sac, but still rarely see some of our neighbours, It was great – some came at the start and stayed till the end, others came and went, we all met someone new and enjoyed sitting in the sun on what was a perfect day for it.

    We meant to organise a street BBQ in November as a follow up from that (someone organised one bi-annually on our previous street, which we really enjoyed), but busyness of life got in the way. Must get the invites out for this next Neighbours Day, even if it just ends up coffee and cake on the front lawn again!

    • Anna S Reply

      Nothing wrong with coffee and cake on the front lawn 🙂 That’s what I’m planning again. Without the lawn. How did yours go this year?

      We’re still waiting to have our street afternoon tea … I was busy last weekend, so we’re going to be (fashionably??) late and have ours this coming Saturday.

      • Georgie Rynhart Reply

        It was great! Some that didn’t come last year came this year, including uni 3 students, and 4 month old twins (plus their mum!). Others that we were expecting didn’t make it, but we all enjoyed an abundance of cake and other goodies, and lingered for a couple of hours together. And we all thought we should do it again and do it more often 🙂

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  3. Laura Reply

    I’m part of Splice (community development in Auckland City) and we helped with the Neighbours Day in Myers Park. Even though the BBQ was a bit rickety and we nearly set fire to the entire park via a telephone book used to prop it up, we had a great day! The Mayor came and opened the event with the local Iwi. We had personally invited buskers to come and provide beautiful background music. POP had a pop-up gardening stall where people could create a mini garden and take it home to their apartment. The Auckland Libraries came and set up a station where kids could decorate their wishes and pin them to the trees. We gave away free sausages all day. People from all walks of life mixed and mingled and it was lovely.

    • Anna S Reply

      That sounds brilliant! I love the mini garden idea 🙂 I’m really keen to hear more about Splice. I go to the Baptist Tab, and we’d love to do things that connect more with our local area.

      In fact, I’ve been vaguely toying with the idea of trying to organise a Neighbours Day for some of the apartment buildings near the Tab (using the big open plaza space next to the church) but it didn’t happen this year – not least because the plaza area is currently all filled in with scaffolding. Doing something in Myers Park sounds great! Joining forces with other people already doing things sounds even better!! For a while I’ve had a strong sense of wanting the church to serve the local community by making a space/opportunity for people who live nearby to connect with each other … not in a “hey, come to church and meet people” kind of way, but “hey, come and meet each other” way. Not sure if that makes sense.

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