A free family barbecue is hoped to bring the rural community together in Eketahuna and open up "important conversations" surrounding the wellbeing of individuals, especially in times of stress.

The Eketahuna Health Centre is hosting the event at the centre this Saturday from 11am until 3pm to acknowledge and value residents' contributions to the community.

Adrienne Dempsey, chairwoman of the executive management committee, said the free barbecue will bring the whole community together at a time of economic downturn and "provide an opportunity for people to have some fun, relax, and escape from the rigours of the daily grind".

"What we thought we'd do is just remind the community that we're behind them," she said.


"Stress manifests itself in different ways and, because of the economic downturn, especially in the dairy sector, it's important to support the community, bring people together, and help people share the load.

"There will be some health services people there on the day; but, more importantly, we're organising kids' games and prizes, live music provided by two Cross Creek Blues Club members, ice-creams for children, a bouncy castle, face painting -- and it's all free."

Mrs Dempsey said the event will be alcohol-free and provide a fun, family-orientated environment to coincide with National Children's Day this weekend.