Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Leah Panapa: Community is still the heart of the neighbourhood

Opinion 23/08/2019

When I was growing up we lived in a neighbourhood that we felt safe in, we played with the kids in our street, our parents met with the other adults in the cul de sac on a semi-regular basis for BBQ’s and let off fire works together on Guy Fawkes night.

For years my mother didn’t lock the doors at night, something that horrifies me now as an adult.

I am sure there are still places in New Zealand where there are close communities but on the whole, our society has changed and we tend to live our lives behind our fences and hedges, and we definitely lock doors.

One of my listeners shared a story the other night about how his community has helped him and his family and it; quote: “knocked his socks off!’

Artie told me his brother was attacked by a group of thugs at the end of his mothers driveway. His brother is special needs and could not defend himself, their mother, who is in her 70’s, could only stand by helplessly.

Artie’s brother was taken to hospital with a few cuts and bruises, was very scared but thankfully will be okay.

To warn others Artie turned to social media and the Community page but what happened, he told me, was humbling, with many people reaching out to give their love and support.

One roofer in the town wanted to give $100 to his brother so he could spend it on a day out.

I could tell Artie was genuinely moved by the support his family had received from complete strangers.

I have only recently discovered my community page on Facebook and I have read some wonderful stories of people helping each other whether it be by just giving advice, warnings of people breaking in to cars in the area, to cooking meals for someone who had recently had an accident and was bed ridden.

How we engage with our community has changed but we still have that desire to stay in touch and care for those around us, and it is good to know that if you need a helping hand and you can’t yell over the fence, that help might just be a click away.