By Kimberley Cleland
Robyn arrived in Kowhai Street 11 years ago and has developed a passion for her seaside street in Whakatane.
Described as a “bitsy” street, the design didn’t lend itself to bumping into your neighbours. She’s been surprised at how connected the community has become over the years through something as simple as regular gatherings to share food and chat.
Robyn started out like most Neighbours Day participants by doing a letterbox drop and inviting her neighbours to bring a plate to share at an end-of-street get together. Robyn found the neighbours could catch up on what everyone was up to. In some cases she found out if someone was unwell so she could go and check up on them or ask if they were ok.
Kooky Kowhai Street is now so connected now that when people move out of the street they are reminded to have a farewell party. The neighbours moving out have to invite the new neighbours along. It helps to break the ice and even if the newbies don’t remember names, there are familiar faces in their new street. Kowhai Street are a neighbourhood that look out for each other and now everybody looks to Robyn to ask “when is the next party?”.
Below : The mighty poophonium that Robyn’s husband plays a tune from. NOT KIDDING he plays a cornet, but for this trick he put a pipe in the loo. Hence the name.