MEET THE TEAM: 5 minutes with Maddie

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Tell us about yourself and how you found yourself part of Neighbourhood:

Hello! My name is Maddie and I am a nature-loving, adventure-seeking, free-spirited yogi/scientist/med student and the director of this beautiful lil non-profit that we call Neighbourhood. I started Neighbourhood for two reasons; the first was to give all my ideas and community campaigns a home. Although they are all our campaigns distinctive and different, they have an underlying theme of community, positivity and love. The second was to provide creative and social opportunities for young people to do good. Charity work can be rigid and inaccessible - we want to knock down these barriers and connect more humans to epic organisations throughout Aotearoa that are making a positive in our neighbourhoods.

Describe yourself in three words:

Energised, passionate and chaotic!!

Do you have any significant goals or projects for 2021?

One of my biggest goals this year was to find the courage to complete my police statement/investigation of a traumatic experience that I went through at 15. I am out the other side now and it took so much courage, determination and support to get me here. My experience with resurfaced trauma, the burden of carrying it and the healing process was what inspired me to launch our third campaign, Coming Home. I think one of the most beautiful parts of life is that we can turn our pain into something beautiful. Something that can be a flicker of hope, or a lifeline, for someone else.

What is a cause/issue/movement that you feel passionately about?

I could go on all day! The inequities in Aotearoa in terms of housing, health, racism and opportunity are something that anger, sadden and motivate me everyday. I believe that tackling climate change, mental illness, our broken healthcare system and fostering community aroha and respect go hand in hand with making Aotearoa a safe, happy and accessible place for us all.

Who or what has influenced you the most?

By far, my parents. I guess that’s inevitable if you have a tight knit family like I do. My parents are incredibly intellectual, empathic and worldly thinkers. Our dinner table conversations encouraged me to consider my privilege, care for others and save the planet from a young age.

If someone I love is down, I cheer them up by…

I am the friend who loves to leave handwritten notes, chocolates and flowers from our garden on someone’s bed to give them a little mood boost. Thoughtfulness is so beautiful to me.

Somewhere that you’ve never been to in Aotearoa that you’d like to visit?

I am not good with cold, so I think I’d stick to exploring more parts of Northland that I haven’t! I love the laid back lifestyle and the flora up there - it’s paradise!

Something that relaxes me when I’m feeling stressed is..

Getting outside, fresh air and movement is the best medicine - and it’s free!

What is something you’re grateful for?

Everything! My entire life just feels like the most beautiful miracle. I adore my family, my friends, my capable body and mind and every single opportunity that I have

The last thought that kept you awake at night was…

COVID.. haha :-( I (like us all) just crave time with my friends, dancing, exploring - I pray that the virus will attenuate and we can establish a different but comforting sense of “normality” sometime soon.

Do you have any strange and completely irrational fears?

Pelicans!! I am so afraid of them ever since experiencing strange recurring dreams as a kid about them eating other children. (Permission to laugh, it’s weird I know)

My idea of heaven is…

27 degrees. On a beach. Dappled shade. Snacks surrounding me. My favourite people are there and soft tunes are playing. :’))

What is something you’re excited about at the moment?

Warm weather is just around the corner! I can’t wait for another summer of surfing, adventures and all my favourite people!

Favourite song on your playlist right now?

Fly Out West - Yot Club, when I want to bop and feel happy and light.

The angel of 8th ave. - Gang of Youths, when I’m emotional or moody - that band is beautiful.

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