Who we are
We are a registered charity that hosts events, creates initiatives and fosters safe spaces for conversation, connection and social change.
There is an obvious need to ensure that community development, social opportunity and charity involvement is accessible, inspiring and empowering for everyone in Aotearoa. Neighbourhood exists to create inclusive campaigns and events that aim to better both ourselves, our planet and those around us.
We have a strong focus on mental health and wellbeing, and work to educate and empower communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand by providing resources, platforming lived experience and creating safe environments to deconstruct and discuss subjects that are heavy or “taboo”. We organise, direct and facilitate events that are unique, unconventional and contribute to people feeling better connected, understood and educated on important issues that we all face.
From learning to talk to strangers, moving our bodies outdoors, hearing vulnerable and brave accounts of lived experience and improving one’s te reo - Neighbourhood NZ offers something for everyone.
Our mahi covers themes such as mental health, physical movement, improving the art of conversation, science communication and more - underpinned with the aim of leaving our communities more empowered, educated and united by positive change.
to public health
Establishing in November 2020, Neighbourhood was born out of Madeline’s passion and interest for what is now referred to as “deep medicine” - a preventive and integrative philosophy that respects the healing potential of better connected neighbourhoods who are lifted out of poverty, isolation and illness through grassroots change. It considers how our environments (social, physical and spiritual), communities and personal behaviours influence health at a population level. It shows us the potential and the power in helping people find purpose, feel valued, empowered and locate a sense of belonging.
Often we only fix things when they are broken, but many public health doctors and deep medicine advocates see and respect the value in enhancing and promoting environments and exposures that are directly correlated with improved wellbeing. These factors can be anything from greenspaces, time in sunlight, better air quality, a deeper support network, accessible cities and a sense of community belonging.
We know that just as deep breaths can lower your blood pressure, mental wellbeing can be enhanced by having a sense of purpose, value and belonging to something bigger than ourselves. Better mental health is intricately related to improving all facets of wellbeing - we are less siloed than what academic research sometimes leads us to believe. Our societies are inflamed and disconnected - poverty, mental illness, inequities, pollution and community fragmentation are all increasing. So are our rates of heart disease, cancers, obesity, depression and anxiety.
We have been trained to be exploitative and individualized, so much so that we are forgetting the benefits of a world where we knew our neighbours, we cared for the collective wellbeing of others and we had an identity that spanned beyond our digital being or our measure of productivity and profitability. Essentially, Neighbourhood wants to reconnect us with experiences of what it is to feel human. To watch the sunrise. To laugh with one another. To try a new sport in your local park on a sunny afternoon. To hear other’s stories, and to empathise with their experiences. To ask questions and challenge societal stereotypes. To care for the collective wellbeing of those in our neighbourhoods.
Alongside a team of 17 volunteers based throughout Aotearoa - Madeline and her co-director Brit orchestrate a first-of-its-kind organisation that is reimaging our future Aotearoa. Being part of Neighbourhood means being committed to the values of reciprocity and the responsibility of being kaitiaki to our communities across Aotearoa. Together, we are reimagining our future in Aotearoa by drawing on foundational public health principles and responding to the unique needs of our world today.
Neighbourhood is a form of deep medicine.
If you still feel confused as to what exactly Neighbourhood NZ is - we get this a lot!
The best way to understand our kaupapa is to be reminded that there is no organisation in NZ that is anything like Neighbourhood NZ.
We are bold, un-conventional and pioneering the face of wellbeing, social connection, public health, and reimagining the lives of young New Zealanders.
TAKE A READ OF WHAT WE HAVE DONE THUS FAR BELOW
We want education and awareness to be possible in any environment - from schools and podcasts to exhibitions and corporate environments, we want our experience of creative impact to be felt everywhere.
We are founded on the belief that looking after your neighbourhood - socially, environmentally and through fostering inclusive and genuine human connection - will ultimately lead to a more positive experience for us all.
We host events and start conversations to educate, empower and ultimately, do good in our 'hood.
OUR APPROACH IS INNOVATIVE, ACCESSIBLE & INCLUSIVE.
HOW NBHD CAME TO BE
Back in the winter of 2020, at the height of the pandemic, our founder Madeline Mason was toying with a socially innovative idea to create an organisation that facilitated inclusive, bold, progressive and creative events which enhance the wellbeing of young kiwis. After an intense few years battling depression, Madeline experienced first hand the value of safe community spaces that anyone can exist in and express themselves authentically. Madeline wanted to build a community that people could rely on, volunteer for and most importantly, belong to.
And that idea is now what we call Neighbourhood NZ.
We are Lawyers, Engineers, Marketers, Technologists, Biomedical Scientists, Administrators, Architects, Designers, Nurses and many more, but together we are ordinary people,
Hope for a safer, happier and more accessible Aotearoa, one neighbourhood at a time.
In April 2021, Madeline met Brittany Mark after recruiting for more team members. Neighbourhood was still in its infancy, but with Brit at the helm of all things creative Neighbourhood soon became known for its unique, striking campaigns that are still around today.Brit's analytical and creative brain that has been refined through her 'day job' in Digital Engineering combined with Madeline's empathy and person-first approach fostered in her medical studies have created a leadership team that is compassionate, innovative and progressive.
Together, with a dedicated team of 21 volunteers, they lead and mentor the Neighbourhood team in four major cities throughout Aotearoa, bringing you impactive events, fostering safe spaces and championing social change.
Neighbourhood is founded upon the concept of preventative wellbeing - the idea that community and connection can provide us with the tools to take good care of ourselves and stay well
and our entire team believe exactly this, no matter who we are or where we come from we collectively unite over the shared belief that community, connection and good conversation are pivotal to our human existence.
"mental illness is complex, but looking after your mental health doesn't have to be"