Jules Lawton was unprepared for her new neighbourhood when she moved back to the Waikato, after living in Auckland for 32 years.

She’d been pretty happy with the ethnic diversity in Sandringham, and had even been an integral part of a small network of neighbours who kept an eye out for each other.

“Our safe word was ‘Steve’. We never had to use it, but we knew that the others would call the police and come running if we shouted it out.” (It's a suggestion that has won her a $1,200 barbeque on the Neighbourly website.)

Hamilton’s Fairview Downs, however, is at a completely different level of neighbourliness.

Sticking together keeps neighbourhoods safe

“When we first moved in, the neighbours across the road put on a small party to welcome us to the street,” Jules says.

Since then, the 40 families on the street all know each other’s names, have exchanged phone numbers and help each other out when they can.

“It’s a really nice hub of goodness and we are quick to band together in the face of unsafe activity.”

She recalls the time they were all in the street at 2am – on masse.

"We told the boy racers creating havoc, to take a hike! They haven’t come back. There is nothing more fearsome than menopausal women!"

Reaching out to help others

Jules is the first to admit they are a ‘cheesy’ neighbourhood.

“It’s quiet and sometimes you can hear the cows mooing in the paddocks not too far away. You wake up and think: ‘Cool – another good day in the hood!'

“If someone is sick, then others will mow their lawns. Recently, when a close neighbour had a fall, we called the ambulance, visited her in hospital, and then stayed with her at home until her husband returned from his business trip.”

Jules is looking forward to co-hosting a shared picnic lunch with neighbour, Deb, for Neighbours Day Aotearoa at Raymond Park on Sunday 29 March.

They’ve advertised the event on neighbourly.co.nz and see it as an opportunity for the wider community to learn how they can be part of a safe and happy neighbourhood.

“Even dogs [on leads] are welcome. Then if they go missing we can help find them quicker because we’ll know what they look like!”


Read about Neighbours Day Aotearoa