Neighbours Aotearoa 2024

Neighbours Aotearoa: PCANZ sharing the cross at Easter

Message from the Moderator

Throughout March, many of our parishes will be extending the hand of friendship to neighbours for Neighbours Aotearoa month. This year, with Easter falling at the end of March, Neighbours Aotearoa provides us with a wonderful opportunity to share with neighbours the hospitality that is so important to us as followers of Christ. To show our love ‘not in word or speech but in deed and truth’ (1 John 3:18). I encourage you to reach out to the neighbours and strangers in your community and welcome them into your space, or meet them where they are, and generously share a cup of tea and something to eat. 

In particular, please share an Easter hot cross bun with your neighbours. The humble bun is such a well-known well-loved Easter tradition, and it is loaded with far more than currants and cinnamon; the cross on top represents our faith, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. It represents suffering and sacrifice yes but also forgiveness, love, life, salvation. Let’s celebrate with everyone, let’s welcome everyone, and may they see the heart behind your gift. 

I encourage you to enter the PCANZ draw below for a $50 supermarket voucher to buy Easter buns to share with the strangers and neighbours in your community.   

Ngā manaakitanga

Right Rev Rose Luxford
Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

Parishes, enter the draw for $50 Easter bun supermarket vouchers

This year, we are encouraging parishes to share Easter with neighbours. To help you connect with your community we have 20x $50 supermarket (NW and Pak’nSave) vouchers to give away to Presbyterian and Cooperating parishes. To enter the draw, email your church or church group name, your physical mailing address, and how you will use the voucher to share Easter buns with your neighbours to: by 9am, Wed 13 March. Vouchers will be drawn by the Moderator the same day. 
Note: if you only have one of the two supermarkets in your area, please indicate which one.

Ideas for your church: sharing hot cross buns with neighbours

You could ask permission to supply hot cross buns to local schools - you might be allowed to read/perform the Easter story; share hot cross buns at community and sporting events; host a neighbourhood Easter bun tea and coffee morning, or picnic in the park, or BBQ, or beach event; place a wrapped hot cross bun in local letterboxes with a note - what Easter means to your church and/or a list of the community services and events your church hosts; share Easter buns on the street outside your church or outside shopping centres, libraries, op shops etc and be ready to share the story of the cross atop the bun with anyone who wants to listen; take hot cross buns to rest homes with hand-drawn Easter drawings and messages from children at your church or a local school; host a ‘best hot cross bun in town’ competition for your community; host an Easter art show at your church with hot cross buns as the artistic theme and offer hot cross buns at the opening event; buy the ingredients to make hot cross buns and package into ‘ready to mix’ bags for those in your community who can’t afford hot cross buns; host a hot cross bun hunt for local children in your church grounds and ‘hide’ boxes of buns; gift hot cross buns to your local foodbank….
Make or bake?
Buy hot cross buns from a local bakery or supermarket – some will give a discount to charities if you tell them how you will share them in your community. Or make and decorate your own. There are lots of good recipes online, see the Edmonds recipe here and their gluten free version here. You could consider hosting a ‘learn how to make and bake hot cross buns’ event at your church. Or invite everyone to bring their homemade hot cross buns to church and host a competition to find your community’s ‘best’ bun. You could get the local media involved and ask someone prominent in your community to judge!

Download the 2024 PCANZ Neighbours Aotearoa poster

   Download the pdf message poster sent to all PCANZ parishes here.

Other Presbyterian Neighbours Aotearoa events

Take inspiration from parishes that will host or have already hosted events such as the upcoming St Peter’s Presbyterian Church Ellerslie Picnic in the Park on 17 March (generously supported by Presbyterian Support Northern,and a PressGo Give it a Go grant), poster below. And the recent successful Mornington Presbyterian Church shared community lunch where the community was invited to bring a dish of their favourite food or a cultural food to share, or koha. See how they promoted their event below. Check out other inspiring events and ideas from past Neighbour Aotearoa church events, see 2023 here.

About Neighbours Aotearoa - formerly Neighbours Day

Started in 2009, Neighbours Aotearoa runs the entire month of March and is a collaborative campaign organised and supported by Lifewise, Inspiring Communities, The Mental Health Foundation, Christchurch Methodist Mission, New Zealand Red Cross, Neighbourhood Support New Zealand, Kāinga Ora, Auckland Council and Housing New Zealand. 

Neighbours Aotearoa (formerly Neighbours Day Aotearoa) is a community development initiative dedicated to growing, connecting and strengthening neighbourhoods across the country. It is a place-based and local approach – neighbours linking up in their local communities. Each year in March they encourage everybody to do something small - or large! - to know a neighbour a bit better.