By Kimberley Cleland
Rebecca started Neighbours Day Aotearoa, a nationally celebrated weekend of neighbourliness activity. She found having her first child opened up more ways to connect with neighbours and hopes families will join in!
While working for Lifewise Rebecca Harrington started the “know your neighbours” programme in Auckland and helped grow the Neighbours Day Aotearoa movement nationwide. She has been busy growing the next generation of neighbours and has found that being a new parent has opened up even more opportunities to connect with the neighbours. Not only did her neighbours organise a welcome-to-the-hood party for Stella, they have also passed on pre-loved baby gear, baked treats for the family, shared home produce, arranged play dates and have been there to listen and offer advice on parenting.
To celebrate Stella’s first Neighbours Day, Rebecca is planning to visit and thank neighbours that have been so generous over the past year. They are also taking part in their neighbourhoods first “forest festival” to raise awareness and funds for the newly formed friends of okura bush. The festival is going to feature neighbourhood musicians, home baking sales, second hand clothing stalls and activities for children.
Rebecca has been inspired by how Neighbours Day has spread throughout the country. Last week she passed through Kaiwaka in Northland and stopped in to a local bakery. It was there that she overheard a woman sharing her ideas for Neighbours Day with a friend and discussing the organisation of her first BBQ! This was a clear indicator to Rebecca that the neighbourliness message has spread far and wide and we can all make a difference by doing something small (or big!).
Rebecca has a message for the new parents out there “I hope you enjoy your first Neighbours Day with your children. May it become an annual celebration of neighbourliness in your family’s calendar!”