Neighbours Day a chance for Southlanders to connect

Healthy Families Invercargill systems innovator Rochelle Francis and her daughter Hannah Surendran (11) stock the pataka kai (community food pantry) at Surrey Park Early Learning Centre in Invercargill.

HOW well do you know your neighbour?

Neighbours Day Aotearoa runs until Sunday, and Healthy Families Invercargill is encouraging Southlanders to get to know their neighbours better.

Healthy Families Invercargill systems innovator Rochelle Francis said connecting with neighbours created a sense of belonging and empowered communities to get through difficult times together.

“Feeling like we are part of something bigger, that we are connected to the place we live,
learn, work, and play, is central to our wellbeing. We all want to feel safe and accepted, supported and valued in the place that we call home. So let’s get out there and build the kind of community we crave.”

The theme of this year’s Neighbours Day is Kai Connections and, as part of that, Healthy Families Invercargill is showcasing and celebrating the various pataka kai (community food pantries) around the city.

“There are lots of pataka kai around, so if you’ve got any surplus fruit or vegetables, or other food items, we’d love it if you shared them with your local pantry. At this time, we’re limited in terms of face-to-face gatherings, but we can still connect through sharing food and supporting those in need. You just don’t know what a big difference it might make to your neighbour who is struggling.”

You can find food pantries in a variety of locations including Waikiwi, Strathern, Otatara,
and Glengarry. People interested in setting up a community food pantry in their neighbourhood can head to for information about how to get started.

“Don’t feel limited to just donating to the food pantries. You might want to drop off some baking to your neighbours, share a recipe, or swap vegetables over the back fence. It’s all about connecting and enjoying the neighbourhood you live in.”

Go to the Healthy Families Invercargill Facebook page for local news and updates, or for more information about Neighbours Day Aotearoa, go to