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When neighbours become good friends ... Well, I never thought I'd use a line from an Aussie soap in a newsletter but there's always a first time.

Neighbours have been a big theme in the Ohariu electorate over recent weeks with Churton Park, Crofton Downs and Ngaio all holding "neighbours' days" in their local communities. They've provided good opportunities to meet neighbours and enjoy what's special about the 'hood.

Ten days ago, on that miserable, soaking-wet weekend, Churton Park residents held a Multicultural Neighbours Day. Featuring entertainment, displays, food and fundraising from across the community, it was a fun -- and delicious -- festival for young and old.

The day began with a Kung Fu display and Chinese dancing, washed down with delicious Indian chai tea and a Sri Lankan lunch while listening to a local student singing her own compositions.

I also had a go at an Indian table game, which I can only describe as pool but is played by striking the "cue ball" with the flick of a thumb instead of a cue. I was hopeless. At least no one would have been left wondering if I'd had a misspent youth.

A week later, Crofton Downs held its Neighbours Day. It also had plenty of activities to keep people busy -- the children gave the bouncy castle quite a workout.

I had some good conversations that day about the suburb's new housing development and its effect both on the local environment and parking for rail commuters. The residents association fundamentally welcomes the development and is taking a practical approach to the short-term impact it's likely to have on the area.

I congratulate Wellington city councillor Diane Calvert for her encouragement of community engagement in Crofton Downs, and Rachel Qi, secretary of Wellington's Multicultural Council as well as a Churton Park resident, for her role in that community's Neighbours Day.

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