THE HELLO PROJECT
A Letter from a Viewer
We were so inspired by the feedback we received from our audience on the Hello Project which launched before Christmas to talk to New Zealand communities and remind them, it’s OK to check on your neighbour.
We thought we would share one of the heartfelt letters we received about the campaign.
First up, great job doing The Hello Project, although I do get a lump in my throat when seeing the ad as exactly that happened to my neighbour but with the same outcome as your mum.
My elderly father has dementia. He got to stay in his home until recently partly thanks to his wonderful neighbours keeping an eye on him. We obviously had other things in place to look after him too. But his neighbours, Keri and Pete, looked from their house into his lounge every day to make sure they saw him wandering around. And I always knew that if I could not get hold of dad in my daily calls, I could call Keri and she would duck across to check he was ok. That kept him safe and kept him in his home for as long as we could do that for him. I will always be grateful to Keri and Pete for doing that for my dad.
I started reflecting on the recent drownings. Esp. the two young guys at Piha. And the sadness of hearing that one of those young men’s wife had lost close family to COVID too. How unbearable this must be for her. For me, there are common themes. The need to watch out for each other. The need to say or do something that can feel a bit like being a busy body. I recall being at Piha, walking on the beach with a friend. There was a migrant family there with three skinny little kids. The kids were in the waves near Lion Rock. Mum and Dad were watching from the shore, not that physically close to the kids. They were not in the flagged area. I said to my friend, that is not good, I am going to say something. She said, no, it is none of your business. I said I don’t care, those children need to be safe. I approached mum and dad, said hello, explained how quickly a kid can be bowled by a wave, dragged out and drown. The parents immediately called the kids out of the sea and the family set off for the flagged area to continue swimming. It was a good exchange, the parents thanked me and they even mentioned watching Piha Rescue… but just had not got the message re always swim between the flags.
Likewise, when tramping… the kiwis who give advice to help keep our tourists who come to enjoy our mountains safe.
Can The Hello Project somehow stretch to encourage people to let go of that ‘its not my business’ attitude? To say hello and give people a heads up. Surfing NZ lacks funds. Our team of 5 million can potentially help here…. Imagine if someone had caught those young guys, said hello and got them to swim between the flags. What a different outcome it could have been.