InternetJune 21, 2024

A tribute to the best and weirdest community Facebook groups


From Avondale to Rolleston, there’s something for every nosy neighbour.

There’s that old saying, “never read the comments” about social media. In 2024, it’s still really bad advice. It’s like telling KFC-eaters to throw out the delicious, crispy skin, or cigarette smokers not to inhale that sweet, sweet nicotine.

I know this because my secret guilty pleasure is signing up to community Facebook groups for neighbourhoods I don’t belong to. I do it solely to read the comments. Like, really read them. All of them.

One of my most frequently visited is I LOVE KARORI! (Wellington, NZ!). I’m totally there for the comments, and about 15,350 of its 15,400 members are too, by the looks of things. But what I actually love most about I LOVE KARORI! (Wellington, NZ!) is its name. All enthusiasm. ALL CAPS. I swear it used to have about ten exclamation marks, but it’s still good even with just two. I mean, just look at it. Read it.

“I LOVE KARORI! (Wellington, NZ!)”

Now read it out loud, in character. Pretend you’re the OG Big Save Furniture lady, clearing up a common geographical misconception. Your motivation is that you really love Karori, but you just want to make sure everyone understands exactly which Karori you’re shouting about.

Felt good, didn’t it? Well, that’s the kind of joy I get from perusing the musings of my not-neighbours. Hopefully you can also appreciate how important (and potentially unreliable) the name of a community Facebook group can be.

So here’s are some noteworthy community group names I’ve come across, for better or worse.

10. Aro Valley People’s Republic

This group name is a clever play on some sort of socialist, countercultural image. A quick scroll of posts shows harmless advertisements for chakradance at places called The Innermost Gardens and people asking for directions to the community compost shrine/area. So far, so good.

However, a closer look in the comments reveals an undercurrent of grumpy-old-nimby sentiment, sort of like reptilian shapeshifters that can only survive on a diet of little shits who play their electric guitar too loudly at night. Like most Wellington suburbs, it appears a new cycleway has been built here, the urban equivalent of an electric fence designed to keep nimbys firmly in their la-z-boys at home. Electric guitar kid is probably safe for now.

9. Swanson / Massey / Ranui Community Group

A huge group (22,000) and an excellent service for reporting dogs on the loose or locating your missing dog that’s presumably on the loose. Google hasn’t launched in this area yet. Instead, this group provides a platform for locals to share knowledge on stuff like which local fish and chip shops are open whenever there’s a public holiday. FYI, they’re always open.

8. Berhampore Peeps

This group’s brand feels like it was carefully ideated and workshopped by unsettlingly friendly folks heavily armed with post-it notes. A mostly pleasant place where residents give away mostly useful household items from this century. Maybe too pleasant?

7. Newtown Peeps

Next door to Berhampore, the Newtown Peeps are mostly concerned about a mail thief. The saving grace here is that everyone seems to have excellent CCTV footage of their mail being stolen.

6. Point Chevalier Community

Originally called Pt Chev Community Group, and not to be confused with Pt Chev Community, this group seems to be where media commentator Russell Brown started publishing a new blog this year about the Meola Road roadworks. Pretty sure a disgruntled resident went out and measured road widths on said roadworks at one point, so extra points for being home to the last person in Aotearoa to use any form of data or evidence to inform their complaints online.

5. Rolleston Community Forum

More a “forum” for advertising new businesses in the area, and less a “community”. No idea if this is the real Rolleston. This group has the vibe of a new subdivision still dominated by show homes. It also reveals a serious gap in our intellectual property laws, competing with three(!?) groups called Rolleston Community Page, Rolleston Community Group and Rolleston Community for residents’ attention. I can’t work out which group is best for spying on the suburb formerly known as Canterbury’s Town of the Future, but I am pleased that my nail, beauty, lunch and gutter cleaning needs will all be met when I visit soon.

4. I LOVE KARORI! (Wellington, NZ!)

Points off for not being as much Live, Laugh, Love as the name suggests once you take a look inside. Turns out Karori has Big Boomer Energy, so the hottest topics tend to be roadworks, traffic, the bloody council, cycle lanes, dishing out FB utu “to the stranger in the blue hatchback” who wronged you on your commute this morning, and youths in hooded sweatshirts out after dark (yes, seriously). Perfect resource if you’re doing your PhD on first world problems.

3. Johnsonville Community Noticeboard

Exactly what it says it is and exactly as boring as it sounds.

2. Avondale Community, New Zealand

Does Avondale count as West Auckland? (Exactly the type of poll for a community page.) Because this group is another excellent service for reporting and locating dogs on the loose. An objectively, genuinely useful and well-rounded neighbourhood group, it seems to have a bit of everything and isn’t dominated by a single topic of complaint. Whether it’s a kerfuffle with lots of police surrounding a local petrol station, your car being broken into, or empty nangs clogging up your gutter, someone in this group will have witnessed it. My anecdata suggests that Avondale is the nosy-neighbour capital of Aotearoa, so this community group is almost perfect.

1. Crofton Downs

This group name is a proper power move because it doesn’t feel the need to give you any kind of self-description or purpose. It’s like the community Facebook group version of answering the phone with only your full name, in a low voice, with no actual greeting. I’m too intimidated to join, so whoever these people are, wherever this place is, they win.

Keep going!