Friendship and Community

Recently my Nana moved from a small community to the big smoke of Christchurch – well, the outskirts of Christchurch anyway. She grew up not too far from Southbridge, met my Grandad who lived in Southbridge, then went on to raise her 5 kids there.

Southbridge holds a special place in my heart. It was there that my Mum and Dad met at the local dance, and it’s where as a kid I spent many weekends playing at the local pool and exploring the rugby fields. Southbridge is world famous for being Dan Carter’s and Albert Anderson’s home town and Nana is friends with the Carters who still live out there.

Southbridge has a population of 720, it’s close to the Rakaia river mouth and not much else. Seemingly it used to have a train servicing it from Christchurch – if only it did now…I’m sure a town revival would be guaranteed! Unfortunately Southbridge no longer boasts a supermarket, petrol station or bus service (although I do believe the Four Square is being rebuilt).

So what is the attraction for such a place? There are many things that attract people to a town like Southbridge, it’s pretty, with well-established trees, it’s small so you can probably walk to the local dairy or butcher from your house, it’s peaceful and surrounded by countryside, and families can hopefully afford a section big enough to have a proper garden if they so please.

In my mind it is the way people interact with their environment that makes a community more than just a group of people. Southbridge recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and the place was humming. Everyone seemed to know everyone, there was a feeling of being included, a sense of pride in the place they’d chosen to call home and a lot of examples on show of what’s happening in their local community – tractors, kids from the play school, sporting teams etc.

Sadly though, my Nana decided to move on from the town in which she’s spent so many years. Nana isn’t really that sad, she is future focused and has decided that she needs to be closer to amenities, family and friends, and she’s moved before the decision was forced upon her. She’s enjoying a brand new town house with little upkeep, grass which gets mown for her and more regular visits from family who no longer have to drive the 40mins out of town to see her.

So although I’m nostalgic for a sweet country town that hasn’t changed much from my childhood and would love my daughter to experience rural New Zealand like I did, I’m happy for my Nana that she gets to be part of another great community. At the end of the day, although your environment is important, as the well-known Ngai Tahu proverb says “He aha te mea nui o te Ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata” (What is the most important thing in this world? It is people, people, people.)

My Nana boasts 5 children, 11 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren can talk fishing and river mouth conditions like a pro, is a champion bowler and can turn wool into clothing – what a legend! I can’t wait to see more of her.

About Jess Brown

Jess Brown
Jessica Brown is on the Customer Service team here at Eldernet and helps look after sales. She is a part-timer here at Eldernet and full-timer at home with her wee girl. At work Jess loves the team atmosphere, the freedom to work in different work spaces and to have a laugh with her colleagues. At home she is working on being a landscaper/gardener with some success and a gourmet chef with not much success. The most likely place to bump into Jess would be at the local beach with friends and family soaking up the sun and surf. Jess is passionate about helping to improve the lives of the young and old and relishes working for a company like Eldernet.

One comment

  1. Katharine

    That’s really lovely Jess, thanks for sharing. Best wishes to your Nana in her new home 🙂