GOLOCAL

Girl power is giving Tauranga businesses a boost, connecting them with thousands of locals online.

A Facebook page promoting the city's businesses has nearly 5000 members, and a website started by a business analyst has helped spread the word about pick-up and deliveries for dozens of cafes and restaurants.

Hunger pangs and weeks of "going without" motivated Shekira and Azeekah Parata, Bina Whatarau, Geraldine Kurukaanga and Jessie Douglas to get the Shop Local Spend Local Tauranga Facebook group going.

Weeks of cooking without buying lunch or takeout helped Shekira save money but by April 20 she was "ready to eat yummy food again" from elsewhere.

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From left to right: Jessie Douglas, Azeekah Parata and Shekira Parata. Photo / Supplied
From left to right: Jessie Douglas, Azeekah Parata and Shekira Parata. Photo / Supplied

"The page was initially made for my friends and I to share what was open in alert level 3 and 2. We shared it with the public and it took off. We are welcoming new members to the page and help support our local economy."

A lot of businesses have been thanking the five women running the page, offering free coffee for the time they've put into it, but Shekira just wants to see the Tauranga economy bounce back quickly and keep as many jobs as possible.

"There are a lot of posts daily asking for local business information. People are discovering things they can purchase locally and beautiful things that some didn't know were around. All thanks to social media."

"We love the city we live in, and if we can help a small business stay open just by eating food then we are here to help - we love food," Shekira's cousin Azeekah Parata said.

The page grew quickly and now includes other small businesses, offering everything from handmade gifts to trades services.

Jessie Douglas admitted drooling at a few food posts.

"She [Shekira] added me to admin because she knows my nose touches my phone all day and would keep an eye on the page to make sure there were no scammers, bullies and non-local businesses.

"Shekira has a way of following through ideas and bringing them to life."

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Douglas has always lived in Tauranga but said the page had been "an amazing eye-opener to how little we know about smaller businesses" in the city.

"I love knowing I'm helping a family put kai on the table."

Geraldine Kurukaanga in Tauranga. Photo / File
Geraldine Kurukaanga in Tauranga. Photo / File

Kurukaanga said "businesses have been really good" at sticking to the page's intentions.

"How great to have a page like this to shop from and we all got to feed our bellies and coffee-deprived brains with goodness from Tauranga moana."

Meanwhile, Tauranga business analyst Olivia Schultz also found a way to support local food businesses with an online presence, when alert level 3 began.

"Initially I started collating info on contactless pick-up info for my own benefit," she told the Bay of Plenty Times.

She later decided to start a website collating pick-up and delivery information for a range of eateries as "a fun project".

"In the news, there was a lot of talk about takeaways and buying local, but I know small businesses don't have much of a margin to work with if there is a delivery or service fee involved. So this was a way of helping."

If you have a restaurant or cafe in Tauranga and would like to be listed on the Shop Local Tauranga site, use the site's online submission form.