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Whakatane dairy owner wins latest Good Neighbour Award

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

New Zealanders are expressing their gratitude to essential service workers who are helping out their neighbourhoods during lockdown.

Our essential service workers deserve every ounce of praise we can give them.

Neighbourhood Support New Zealand’s second Good Neighbour Award winner is a regional dairy owner based in Whakatane whose kindness, positivity and professionalism during the lockdown has won over the hearts of locals.

Chief Executive, Tess Casey, says Bawik Patel from the Allendale Superette was chosen as this week’s winner as his efforts echo other touching stories and nominations received from across the country which highlight the lengths our essential workers are going to during lockdown.

Bawik runs the superette alongside his wife and has been going above and beyond to support the Whakatane community who rely on his dairy for essentials, even going as far as selling some items at cost.

Bawik has also been delivering shopping to people who need it and sending positive COVID-19 updates. According to his nominator, Bawik has been a shining light in their community who never fails to check in with his customers to see how they and their families are doing in their bubbles.

Neighbourhood Support New Zealand has launched the weekly awards to celebrate Kiwis supporting each other, by helping those who live nearby.

“Since opening the awards, we’ve received quite a few nominations from people expressing their gratitude for the help they’ve received from their local supermarket or dairy. There’s no incentive to do so, just a genuine desire to help out and support their community, especially those who are isolated or who need to stay at home.”

There have been nominations for supermarkets and pharmacies in rural areas that have set up phone tree and delivery systems for older neighbours. There have also been a number of nominations for individual supermarket workers who are doing the shopping for up to three or four neighbours. Some go as far as doing the shopping for their neighbours prior to working hours, dropping off the groceries, and then returning to work for their shift. Others have even purchased the shopping, asking nothing in return except for it to be paid forward when the time is right.

Neighbourhood Support New Zealand’s Community Advisor, Kelsey Scarr, says the nominations reflect the spirit of aroha New Zealanders are known for during tough times.

“It’s been absolutely heart-warming and uplifting to read the nominations pouring in from every corner of the country. It’s amazing what good can happen when we come together and support one another. The best part being, it often doesn’t need to cost a thing except a little bit of our time.”

Know of a standout neighbour who is making a difference on your street or in your community during New Zealand's lockdown?

Nominate them for a Neighbourhood Support Good Neighbour award here:

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To learn more about how we create safer, more resilient and connected communities across Aotearoa, visit the Neighbourhood Support New Zealand website here:

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