Treasure one another

By Rowena Orejana

A Waitakere 'street champ' has come up with a way to put the "neighbour" back in "hood". Rowena Orejana reports.
Leao Tildsley is passionate about her community. She's out and about in the neighbourhood and takes an active interest in the people living in it.
This makes her the perfect street champ.
"A street champ is a person who cares about their neighbours. I just want to do things for my neighbours. Years ago that was the norm," she notes.
The McLaren Park Henderson South Community Initiative is working on an activity called Our Amazing Place Community Treasure Hunt to bring people together. In this hunt, organisers hope residents will discover the greatest treasure of all: each other and the place they share.
"The treasure hunt is about identifying local treasures in our area.
"And the treasures can be a local business, a group, a person. It can be anything that's identified with our community and is part of the consultation we had," says Rebecca Koteka-George, community coordinator.
Children joining the hunt will walk with their parents around the neighbourhood looking for the treasures. When they reach a station, their "passport" will be stamped. The first to get all the stamps wins a trip to explore the rugged west.
"What we are looking at doing is getting our street involved and making it into a competition.
"It's a really good vehicle, an excuse or something for them to come together," says Mrs Tildsley.
About 12 streets will be involved in the hunt. Mrs George says organisers hope for 500 to 800 participants.
"We've broken down the routes to three. The first will be suited to those who are biking and the last will be for parents with prams," she explains.

The idea came from a similar activity in Pt Chevalier last year. Some of the key people working in Waitakere took part and thought to replicate it.
"They saw the children doing their own networking by comparing passports and stamps or stickers that they have received," says Mrs George.
Violence Free Waitakere and Community Waitakere are collaborating by providing funds and resources. Next year, the same idea will be tried in Massey.
"Violence Free and Community Waitakere will focus resources in the next community. We've already been resourced and we've made links and connections as a community and we will be able to continue that on our own," says Mrs George.
She pointed out that it's very cost-effective and can be copied easily by other areas.
However, the resulting community benefits are huge.
"Yes, it's a one-off event. It will last a day.
"But it's the networking and the building of relationships that will last."
Finders' keepers
What: Our Amazing Place Treasure Hunt
Where: Front of Bruce McLaren Intermediate School
When: 10m-1pm, Saturday, November 13
To register a team: contact Rebecca, ph 021 722 293 or 838 4820.

- The Aucklander

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