Themes from Conversations about “Neighbourhood”

Submitted by Community Animator on December 18, 2014 - 3:57pm
Collected Reflections and Ideas from Neighbourhood Passionate People and Places across Aotearoa, NZ September 2014

The following publication was gracriously shared with us by Inspiring Communities in New Zealand:


In her 2013 Christmas message to the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth noted three key things that matter – family, friendship and good neighbourliness.

Since our journey began in 2008, Inspiring Communities has noticed a growing groundswell and renewed interest in planning and action focused on connecting neighbours and strengthening neighbourhoods here in Aotearoa. This mirrors trends internationally too.

The concept of neighbourhood focused action isn’t new, but in recent decades it has clearly taken a back seat. However global crises and natural disasters such as the Canterbury Earthquakes have triggered a ‘remembering’. They’ve reminded us how important it is to know those living around you, both in tough times and good. As a result, social capital is now coming back onto the public policy agenda, a (re)building of local connections being more proactively encouraged, and the benefits of communities who care being highlighted in new statistics.

Inspiring Communities has been privileged to help document and
share many inspiring stories of locally-led change in many Kiwi
communities. We’ve noticed the strong sense of pride, empowerment, ownership and achievement that comes from working collaboratively to change things that ‘matter’ locally. As noted in Learning by Doing 2013:

Inspiring Communities has identified supporting, celebrating and strengthening neighbourhood- led development as one of its strategic priority areas for 2014-16. We want to support and amplify the inspiring efforts and activities underway. To help inform and clarify the most useful roles and functions for Inspiring Communities, we talked to a range of people and places across the country to learn more about:

  • understandings of neighbourhood;
  •  what’s working well and why;
  • what else would help strengthen and support those taking very locally-led action; and potential roles for Inspiring Communities in the neighbourhoods space.

People generously shared their time, experiences and thoughtful insights. We were reminded again of the amazing network of New Zealanders who are eager to connect with, and be informed by NZ’s own story and emerging practice-based knowledge. As a result we have:

  1. Summarised key ideas and conversation themes into this ‘neighbourhood thinking’ resource.

  2. Developed an Inspiring Neighbourhoods Action Plan to guide our own effort, activity and investment in the neighbourhoods space – hopefully alongside many others!

For more information, please read the attached.