Feels at home . . . Clarinda Ellis is using her experience running a Meetup group in Sydney to run a similar one in Oamaru. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

As the Beatles sang – you get by with a little help your friends.

But what if you do not have friends? Or they aren’t available to give you that little push?

Moving to a new place, or starting a new stage in your life, can be tough. Technology can also make us feel more isolated.

However, it also has the power to bring us together.

Kakanui resident Clarinda Ellis has been through all of that.

When she lived in Sydney, Ms Ellis remembers watching Netflix at home when her son came in and said: “Man, you should get a life”.

“At the time, I was happy enough because I was social in my job as an interior designer, but I thought ‘you know what, I should make an effort’,” she said.

“So I literally Googled ‘get a life’.

“And one of the things on there was Meetup.”

Meetup is an app that allows its users to join various groups and network with others.

She signed up to an event at the Cronulla Sailing Club, but did not find the group very welcoming.

“I hate cliques, and I went away thinking I could do a better job.”

So she did.

She created a group in Sydney which grew to 822 members and, at times, felt like a full time job.

“The hardest thing was the cost, having to go to all these events.”

Ms Ellis, who grew up in Twizel, recently returned to Waitaki to be closer to family, and has started organising Meetup events in the district. The Oamaru group has 27 members, who all have diverse backgrounds, she said.

She organises two “meet ups” a week, and sees the potential for the group to grow.

“I am happy to take suggestions of what we do.”

She also set up the group to do some networking.

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