Connecting With Our Communities - A Day Spent Well at Newtown Festival

In the light of the horrific attack in Christchurch, it is now the time for us all to reflect on the ways we stand united against hatred and fear, and bring our communities closer together. There has been such an outpour of kindness and generosity, as people have come together to support our Muslim friends in these dark times.  This gives us a strong sense of hope going forward as a society. Yet this is where it is really crucial to ensure this openness and support are available for people at all times, good or bad.

Busy street at newtown festival

Uniting our communities and celebrating the beauty of diversity is something we, as a society, should really focus on now.  A few weeks ago, the Collaborate team was fortunate to participate in the Newtown Festival, and we would like to share the learnings from our experience.

For those living outside of Wellington - let us give a little background. Newtown is one of Wellington suburbs that embodies ethnical diversity and multiculturalism.  Its colourfulness and the creative types and characters are what makes this area of town so unique. Newtown Festival focuses on celebrating all this vibrancy and every year brings together people from all across Wellington. People take over the streets in a celebration of community, cuisine and music from every culture imaginable.

What Collaborate wanted to bring to the festival is that sense of positivity and connection. It is the small acts of kindness that can really lighten up someone’s day, and this was our focus on that beautiful and warm Sunday. Our ask of the passers-by was to leave little messages of kindness for others on our chalkboard and to share more personalised messages with their loved ones on postcards they could take away. We believe everyone is unique and brings something beautiful to the world and to the lives of the people they touch. Too often we don’t even realise how much we actually positively impact others, and that sometimes just a smile and the ability to listen can mean the world for someone.

For us, it was so heartwarming to see all the different people engaging with us. There were young kids with their parents, elderly people and everyone in between. Teenage boys were the most endearing. They left the most beautiful words of kindness, and showed us, once more, that you should never judge a person by their appearance.  Our blackboard filled up with colourful messages, drawings and expressions of love.

Chalk board filled with positive messages at Newtown Festival

And this is where it really starts. It is all about incorporating those little acts of kindness towards the people around us that could help us build a strong community where everyone, regardless of their religion, ethnicity or colour of their skin can be equal and accepted.