One of the Coromandel's major tourism operators is among businesses in the region struggling to find experienced staff.
The Lost Springs, which is a restaurant and spa resort, is in urgent need of qualified staff to fill the roles for the busy summer period, with chief executive Alanna Kilne saying the staffing gaps have been a significant hurdle for the business.
"It's incredible that at this time we have a township so short of hospitality staff, and services as well," Kilne said.
She said that finding a local gas fitter to fix an oven in the commercial kitchen has proven almost impossible, and she's been looking further afield as far as Tairua because she can't get anyone locally in Whitianga in time.
"If our kitchen doesn't fire up, my restaurant can't open, It's getting critical now."
She said the lack of affordable housing and rentals in the area have also raised problems for employers.
"It's a Catch-22 situation with the housing. We say come to the Coromandel to live and work, but where do people live?" she says.
"The Coromandel is in a great position with a great product and I'm excited for the season ahead. We are within a three-hour drive from 50 per cent of New Zealand's population and this should be a bumper season for us all."
"We just need to solve the staffing and housing problems."
Kilne is aware of other local businesses on-the-hunt for qualified chefs and experienced front-of-house staff too and she said feedback from recruitment agencies confirms the problem of staff shortages is widespread across the Waikato.
"I'm concerned for our region and my own business over the months ahead. Post Covid-19 has been very busy, but how we service this new demand over summer is becoming a concern."
"As providers of hospitality and other services, we as a community have been working hard on our businesses and it's distressing to now be in this situation," she says.
"Out-of-towners arrive with high expectations of our businesses, and we can't say we don't have enough staff as an excuse for not operating at full capacity."
Kilne said the pinch time for the business will be the next few months before university students break for summer and enter the job market.