We know that building homes alone doesn’t make a neighbourhood, which is why supporting customers to live well in their homes and make essential connections within their community is a top priority.

The team in Palmerston North decided that the best way to spark these first connections was to give neighbours the chance to get to meet each other at an afternoon of food and fun at a local reserve on Exeter Crescent.

“The past few years have been difficult with COVID-19 restrictions, so we were excited to get the neighbourhood together and work with other community organisations to put on an amazing afternoon for the community,” says Senior Stakeholder Relationship Manager, Rebecca Kinloch.

Both Kāinga Ora customers and private residents came to the reserve to connect on the day, with many bringing their tamariki along for activities like giant Jenga, hula hooping, and chalk drawing on footpaths.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep the kids entertained, the team also arranged for a fire truck to make a special appearance courtesy of the Palmerston North Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Dave Mollard was one of the volunteer fire fighters there on the day – and he’s a familiar face to many people in the community, including Kāinga Ora customers, who he has taught how to grow food through the Manawatū Food Action Network.

The Palmerston North Volunteer Fire Brigade with one excited tamariki

“Firefighters are very community minded and we were very happy to come down to the reserve, meet members of the community at a great event and delight tamariki with the fire truck,” he said.

Of course, no neighbourhood fun day is complete without plenty of kai. Palmerston North Bunnings joined the festivities by providing sausages and an ice cream truck from Mr Kool to make sure the tamariki (and their parents) had a sweet treat to top off the day.

But what made this event so special is that it brought the whole neighbourhood together, not just Kāinga Ora customers.  Jolene was just one of the private residents living in the neighbourhood who was there on the day – and she brought her son along to join in the fun.

“I wanted to encourage my son to introduce himself to other kids on the street and make some friends,” said Jolene.

“I think having an event like this is a wonderful idea – it really gets the whole community together.

This sentiment was shared by another neighbour who took the opportunity to get to know other families in the area.

“We really loved having the opportunity to meet everyone today and get to know the families in the neighbourhood,” they said.

Martin, a Kāinga Ora customer who lives in Exeter Crescent also enjoyed the afternoon festivities.

“I wanted to come down to meet everyone and just have a chat,” Martin said.

“I love the house I am living in on Exeter. The house is great and it is the first time I have had the chance to have a garden – it’s really exciting.”

The day sparked many conversations and laughs between neighbours – as well as plans for the Exeter Crescent residents to catch-up again in the future.

Graeme Broderick, Regional Director, Taranaki, Whanganui Manawatu says community events like this are a great example of how the Kāinga Ora team support local communities.

“Our team works hard to help create vibrant, thriving communities, and community building activities like this are a brilliant way to support this,” Graeme said.

“They’re not only an opportunity for our team to connect with our customers, but for people in the community to come together. It gives everyone on the street – whether they are Kāinga Ora customers or private owners the chance to come together, meet each other and become neighbours and friends.”

Following on from the success of this afternoon event – and with summer just around the corner – the Kāinga Ora team are already planning similar events for other streets in the area to help encourage the connections that create a neighbourhood.

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Page updated: 19 October 2022