'Kiwis Loose Touch With Their Neighbours' was the New Zealand Herald's take out from the recently released Sovereign Wellness Index Survey.

Only 4% of New Zealanders agreed they felt close to people in their local area.

It's not that we don't want to know our neighbours. The 2014 Neighbourly Survey highlighted 85% saying we want to connect with our neighbours.

Here's one way of tackling the problem:

Four years ago the Clevedon Presbyterian church community canvassed interest in holding an intercultural luncheon. A staggering 5,000 Chinese replied 'yes'.

So every Tuesday about twenty are bussed in from across Auckland to sit down and share lunch with local volunteers. Many have followed their children here. Some have been here for less than three months, some up to twelve years. This is often the first time in this country that they have been invited to a Western meal. Many have never used knives and forks, nor are they familiar with our dining etiquette. Volunteers guide them through a meal. There are lots of laughs. People talk about who they are and why they are here.

The waiting list to participate keeps growing exponentially and now includes different ethnicities.  Sharing stories over food is an ideal opportunity to get to know your neighbours. Everyone has a story.

Let's all be that kind stranger, that welcoming community.


Chris Voss, a hostage negotiator with the FBI for 25 years, is now CEO and Founder of The Black Swan Group.  His insights from the FBI, Scotland Yard and Harvard Law School have been applied to communication challenges and negotiations in business.

Voss recommends what he describes as a 'ridiculously simple, but incredibly powerful' technique for de-escalating a crisis: emotional labelling. 

"People love to have others understand how they feel. Hanging a tentative label on an emotion heard, observed, or more importantly implied, is the best way to demonstrate empathy. Empathy is the cognitive ability to discriminate effective cues in others and the ability to articulate those cues. It not only encourages reciprocity it allows people to become more receptive of others’ points of view. Attentive listening has positive benefits.  It allows the individual to evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings and become better problem solvers."


Listen to Chris' interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio by clicking the image, or go to


Disruptive change creates winners and losers.  Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms give us a great framework to understand this shift in their "New Power" article in the HBR.

Click  here  to read the article by  Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms.  

Click here to read the article by  Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms.  

 "When you hear people talk about the future, they most often describe a '2.0' world. Education 2.0. Politics 2.0. Media 2.0. This is a small metaphor for a huge change, falsely promising us incremental shifts that are largely to do with technology.

As if tomorrow will just be a digitally enhanced version of yesterday."

We like their insight that a more fundamental and more human transformation is taking place driven by a growing tension between two distinct forces – Old Power and New Power.
"Old Power works like a currency. It is held by few. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads. It commands.

New Power works like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads. It shares."