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Auckland couple may have the best bear hunt in the country

Auckland couple, Sue and Philip from Wai O Taki Bay, are the fourth and final winners of the Neighbourhood Support Good Neighbour Awards for going the extra mile to keep their neighbours’ spirits up during lockdown.

The first display which started it all, a lone plush tiger and a matching rhyme in Sue and Phil's front window.

The couple, who were nominated by two grateful neighbours, have been creating new window and garden displays daily that feature toys they have around their home for their grandchildren who haven’t been able to visit since lockdown began. Starting off with a lone tiger on the first day, they gradually introduced what grew to be 10 animal characters, each with a relevant scene and poem which formed part of a bigger storyline.

The project kept expanding as local kids got to know the characters and started to come back each day to follow the happenings at Sue and Philip’s. As funny comments, quirky questions and magic moments were overheard while eavesdropping from inside, these were used as sparks of inspiration for future displays. One such display celebrated the 4th birthday of a neighbour who was overjoyed to see a special party scene created just for her.

The couple said, “It was wonderful to see the children’s faces when they found themselves in the poems or recognised themselves in some way in the scenes we created.”

Sue and Philip believe that parents are some of the heroes of this pandemic and they wanted to do something to help them during lockdown.

In addition to bringing smiles to all who walk past their home each day, they have also set up a WhatsApp group for their Neighbourhood Support group and coordinated the street effort when they became aware a 90-year-old couple nearby needed a few grocery items urgently.

Neighbourhood Support Chief Executive, Tess Casey, says Sue and Philip exemplify the kindness, creativity and spirit of positivity that has helped brighten lockdown for so many. “We’ve had numerous bear hunt nominations come in from around the country. From reading these we’ve learned just how much these small acts really mean to neighbours who live nearby. Sue and Philip’s efforts definitely stood out in terms of the lengths they have gone to, keeping both children and adults alike entertained!”

Neighbourhood Support New Zealand launched the weekly awards to recognise everyday Kiwis who are lending a hand, going above and beyond, and making our communities safer, more resilient or connected.

“We’ve been heartened to hear so many good news stories during this noho rāhui. With over 236 nominations received it’s safe to say there are far more great neighbours out there than we’d ever be able to recognise through these awards alone. Thank you to everyone who is making a difference in your local community!” says Tess.

To learn more about the Neighbourhood Support Good Neighbour awards including a list of previous winners, visit:

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