Life in lockdown has made us realise many things, especially how important community is in order to make it through the tough times we’re faced with. New Zealanders are no exception, they’re known the world over for their community spirit and welcoming demeanor. So it may come as no surprise that they’ll go to great lengths to guarantee that everyone in their community is taken care of.
Whether it’s providing support for local businesses, keeping spirits high with an innovative approach to entertainment or just ensuring no person is forgotten, we wanted to check out how Kiwi’s have been responding to the Covid-19 crisis.
So, we’ve gathered together and wanted to share with you a handful of feel good stories where New Zealanders have gone above and beyond to support one another through these trying times. We hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we did!
Gift Voucher Initiative in Wellington
Lockdown has seen shops and businesses forced to close their doors across the world and for many, it’s likely to spell disaster. But Wellingtonian’s have been getting behind their favorite local businesses to ensure that their city has the future it so rightly deserves.
A grassroots initiative called Indie Wellington has been created to share details and promote businesses such as cafes, shops and salons which sell online or provide gift cards.
The idea is that people can purchase gift cards now to use in the future once the crisis settles down and the city reopens; giving small businesses a desperately needed cushion to rest on through all the uncertainty. You can read more about the project here, and if you plan to visit Wellington in the not too distant future, why not treat yourself to a voucher or two?
Youth Arts New Zealand Launch Campaign to Support Young Creatives
Choosing a creative career path is tough at the best of times, so we can’t imagine how difficult the crisis has made things for young musicians, poets and artists just starting out.
Youth Arts New Zealand (YANZ) is a social enterprise that supports, connects, showcases and develops creative young New Zealanders, allowing them to raise their profile and obtain paid work through events and performances. But while this hasn’t been possible, they’ve had to do things a little differently.
As a result, YANZ have created a Boosted campaign. Raising funds while hosting a range of live virtual performances and events for all to enjoy from the comfort of their sofa. More about the project can be found here and you can also check out some of the virtual events over on their Facebook page if you fancy having a nosy at what the youth of NZ have to offer.
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Go Global
Music plays a big part in boosting spirits and being innovative with technology in a time of crisis means that there’s no real limit on what you can achieve, if you put your mind to it. Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra decided to bring music to the masses by way of a virtual play in. But not before inviting the rest of the world to join in.
Over 250 participants from across the world “came together” with their APO counterpart for a one-off performance of Radetsky March by J. Strauss Sr. Each participant was asked to submit a video of their performance, which was then specially arranged and edited to create the grand spectacle, allowing anyone to enjoy the monumental feat from home. You can check out the performance here. You can even download the sheet music and play along if you wish to!
Musicians Take to the Road to Support Nursing Homes and Care Workers
Sticking with the music theme, a small team of musicians have set about making their performance mobile with the help of a pair of specially adapted trucks. The trucks contain a stage and each is rigged with a concert sound system, allowing them to park up in a suitable outside space and perform. But these performances are more than just a roadshow…
The concept was the brainchild of organists Mark Patterson and Dr Kemp English who wanted to raise awareness about loneliness within the elderly community and to show some appreciation for healthcare professionals who are doing an outstanding job.
They will be travelling around New Zealand visiting retirement villages and nursing homes where residents and care workers are able to enjoy a free concert from the comfort of their rooms, or at a socially acceptable distance outside should they wish to. You can learn more about the tour here.
Schools Unite to Reach Out to Elders in the Community
Being lonely during lockdown is a very real problem, especially for those that don’t have family around them or a solid support network. But one student wanted to change that. Evy Hwangbo decided to reach out to her fellow students with an initiative to connect young people with older people that are in need of some company – bridging the gap between the generations and encouraging people to talk.
The initiative is called Genafriend and is designed to combat the widespread loneliness and social disconnection being experienced at the moment. Enlisting the help of local care homes to make the connections, so far 24 students have been “paired” with an elderly friend, but news is spreading fast and more are chomping at the bit to get involved.
A quote from one of the students involved sums up the experience perfectly. A story we could all learn from: ““Honestly, I was quite nervous at first but we clicked instantly. He told me about the incredible life he lived, and we laughed about how the world has changed. He is one intelligent man – I’m excited to call him every week and make a new friend!”. You can read more about Evy’s journey to connect the generations here.
We’ve been truly inspired while reading stories about all the amazing things Kiwi’s have been doing for their community during lockdown. But unfortunately we couldn’t share them all, as much as we would like to of course! Have you come across any inspiring stories about community spirit? If so, let us know, we’d love to hear about them!