All I can say is, wow! What a week it has been.
I have never felt prouder to be a reporter in the beautiful Bay of Plenty and never have I been more proud to be a Kiwi.
This week has been full of milestones.
NZME, publisher of the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post, celebrated one year since introducing premium content, we entered life in level 3 and launched our GO LOCAL! campaign.
The campaign uses the power of journalism to shine a light on businesses in our region who have been doing things differently and even reinventing themselves in order to survive Covid-19.
This past week I have had the absolute pleasure and privilege of talking to business owners in Tauranga and Rotorua who have been trialling some of those survival tactics.
I want to take this moment to thank each and every one of you for the sacrifices you are making to keep our economy going. The sacrifices will be worth it.
I have been impressed by the way our Bay businesses have taken on the challenge of thinking innovatively and reinventing themselves to adapt to new ways of working.
When lockdown was announced, I spoke to many businesses about their reaction, the impact and where it left them.
At first, I could hear their pain and hurt. There were days where I was moved to tears as I listened to people's stories of money loss and genuine concerns about how they were going to keep a roof over their heads and feed their young families.
But as businesses started to emerge from the initial grieving period, they have begun to focus on the future and put plans in place.
Innovative ideas including delivering fine dining in takeaway boxes so customers can dine like kings and queens at home and "ghost kitchens" where people can order a range of food from one restaurant's kitchen.
Cafes are staying open later at night to give us dinner options and some retailers are introducing an online presence for the first time to make it easier for us to order from them now and in the future.
To get us their food, they have completely rearranged their restaurants so it is safe for us to click and collect, with some even offering free deliveries.
Locally-owned supermarkets are hiring people from other professions, including a pro-golfer, and a Bay hair salon is staying positive and keeping connected with clients by producing a funny video about hairdressing at a distance.
Hearing all these stories has made me feel so proud to be a Kiwi. Thank you to all of our Bay businesses for doing what you do.
And for those who haven't got there yet and are waiting for level 2. Hang in there. We need you and the community has got your back.
To everyone, please GO LOCAL! and support your community.