Covid-19 may have pushed people apart physically but many Northland communities have become closer as a result.
Ahead of the nationwide lockdown, which started today, Northlanders proved that community spirit was very much alive as people used social media and letterbox drops to connect with neighbours and ensure they had support during isolation.
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Whangārei teacher and mum Andrea Cameron reached out to her neighbours in Bedlington St, where she has lived for about 18 years, and nearby Beauzami Pl by dropping flyers in letterboxes which told people about a neighbourhood Facebook group they could join.
If they didn't have Facebook they ticked a box and put the flyer back in the letterbox for Cameron to collect.
"It's something we can do and it's easy. It felt a bit weird putting flyers in everybody's letterbox thinking I should have done this earlier, or I should know who they are, but sometimes it's these things that bring you together," she said.
Cameron said there are 80 houses in Bedlington St and 14 in Beauzami Pl. She said everyone who wants to, and can, posts a message on the Facebook group introducing themselves and offering ways they can help.
She said while Facebook is the main method to keep in contact, Cameron would communicate with residents who didn't have social media via the letterbox.
"One lady has already baked a banana cake and is dropping it off to the lady at the top of the road - but obviously not in personal contact, remaining really careful."
She said the neighbourhood had already decided they would honour Anzac Day by standing at the end of their driveways at 6.30am on April 25.
"Somebody has already posted a Lego challenge too so we've already got some games we're going to do. And today was our rubbish day so we left a message for the bin collectors and some chocolate - pre wrapped and in plastic bags - saying thank you."
Cameron herself is considered high risk after going through chemotherapy - which she has now completed - for ovarian cancer, so she said she was being very safe.
"We've got antibacterial wet wipes, we are being super careful because we've got two asthmatics and obviously my white blood cells are still low," she said.
She said as a result of the mailbox drop they received a letter from an elderly woman who pleaded for help.
Cameron said she would do what she could to help the woman and would ask other neighbours to support if they could too.
She said the neighbourhood was appreciative the group had been created and encouraged other communities to do the same.
Meanwhile, the Maungakaramea community has also come together to help residents of the Stonehaven Retirement Village.
Julie Mokaraka, who has lived in Maungakaramea for 20 years, said people had posted on various community groups she administrates asking if anyone needed help.
So Mokaraka messaged a staff member from Stonehaven Retirement Village who said a few residents living alone might struggle with meals, and suggested people could make a few and freeze them for the residents.
"I put a big note out to everyone asking if anybody could help even if they could provide a meal made up of leftovers. I had 27 people get back to me," she said.
She said she was "thrilled to bits" at the community response.
"I've lived here for 20 years and I've always found it like that but I think this virus and what's happening at the moment has brought people together because they realise how important people are to each other."
Visit covid19.govt.nz for more information.