Christchurch Mail
Thursday 12/06/2014
General News
Christchurch, NZ
189.00 sq.cms.
press clip
Website helping bring neighbours together
SPREYDON, New Brighton and Redwood
are the fastest growing Christchurch communities on a new social media site that
aims to bring Neighbourhood Watch into
the digital age. has had viral growth
since launching nationwide three weeks
ago, and more than 1000 Christchurch
residents are now on the site.
It allows neighbours with verified local
addresses to exchange information, such as
babysitter phone numbers, tools and
couches for sale, and to alert neighbours to
burglaries, missing pets or emergencies.
Non-profit organisations such as Civil
Defence and local residents’ associations
can use the site to communicate with local
residents for free.
Co-founder Casey Eton, who studied commerce at the University of Canterbury, said
his team researched Christchurch when
designing the site, particularly its urgent
text alert feature.
‘‘Natural disasters proved neighbourhoods are really important,’’ he said.
‘‘Neighbours are your first line of help,
and if you are in a badly affected area,
emergency services won’t get there for a
really long time.’’
It was important to have those networks
established before emergencies hit, he said.
Addington resident Darryl Smith, who
signed up to be a Neighbourly team-leader
soon after joining the site last month, said
it would be particularly useful in his suburb
where new residents were moving in and
former residents had moved on because
their homes were damaged.
‘‘Not many people know who lives next
door to them anymore,’’ he said.
Smith plans a flyer drop on his street to
raise awareness about Neighbourly and
encourage people to meet their neighbours
via the social media platform.
A CERA spokesperson said initiatives
that brought people together, such as
neighbourhood-led events, helped to
strengthen community ties and community
‘‘Having a connected community is particularly important in building societies
that can withstand adversity.’’
Eton said he was impressed with the
website’s activity, saying neighbours’
requests for help were getting at least five
to six responses.
‘‘[People] are getting really stuck in in
regards to helping each other,’’ he
In St Heliers, Auckland, one of the five
suburbs piloted for the site, 700 neighbours
had signed up within three months.
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