Hospitality · inspiration

Taking hospitality to the street

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Following my recent post “Are you ready to see my real life?” and my desire to be more hospitable this year, I’m tackling one of my related goals head on. March 19-20 is national Neighbours Day here in New Zealand and over the years as this day nears, I have great intentions of organising an event for our street, but instead I chicken out. I justify not doing it with reasons like, “I don’t know how long we will be living here”, or “I’m not an ‘event organiser’”, “someone with better skills or talents would be more suited to doing that”. And then I hope that, “that someone else”, with those skills, will organise a neighbourhood get together but sadly it never seemed to happen.

So this year I decided I would step up and organise something before the lizard brain took over. With the support and encouragement of my next-door neighbour, we are hosting a 2016 neighbours day street party for the 100 houses that make up our street.

Now before you think I’ve gone completely mad, this is a street party, held outside on the grass verges of our homes. No need to vacuum. No mad cleaning marathon. Maybe just a teeny tiny bit of gardening since it will be outside our house…

We are keeping it very simple – asking everyone to bring a plate of finger food and something to drink. So no great catering caper either!

On the weekend I went door knocking to hand deliver invitations to everyone. Not all were home but those I did get to speak to were all keen to come along. Interestingly I did hear quite a few people say versions of something very familiar to me… “I’ve always wanted to organise something but I never got around to it” (aha…I’m not the only one).

The thing that is motivating me is that I believe there are people living in our street that this is for. There is someone here who really needs a friendly neighbour they can call on when they don’t feel well or when they need help with their kids. There is someone here who is lonely, there are elderly people we need to be aware of, and there are people from other cultures who need to feel welcome.

I am so excited to meet everyone and to see what happens and hopeful that this will be the first of many neighbourhood get-togethers.

I’ll let you know how we get on. In the meantime, if this idea is stirring something in you… go on – do it.

“It’s hard for us in this digital age to fully grasp the power of “with”. We are more connected than ever, but rarely face to face. I am friends with people all over the world whom I have never physically met. We chat, comment, text, tweet. We have found a way to be friends with each other without being with each other. While we may be losing some of the skills of actually being able to socially relate to someone, our desire for that connection has only deepened. This is why we have meet ups. This is why people still go to conventions when they can easily grab content online. We want “with”.”  Jarrett Stevens

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6 thoughts on “Taking hospitality to the street

  1. How exciting! Did it all work out better than expected? We recently came back from New Zealand (South Island) and I find it very difficult to believe that anyone there could even remotely be un-neighborly. I’m sure it was a blast!!

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      1. So glad it went so well that you’re eager to do it again when you get the chance. Super cool! Oh we went to a ton of places – Christchurch, Queenstown, drove through the national parks, Milford Sound, Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier, stayed for a bit at Hokitika before driving through Arthur’s Pass. LOTS OF DRIVING! But so fun. =)

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