Welcome to our new nzherald.co.nz feature, celebrating great Kiwis going the extra distance in lockdown. Do you have a Lockdown Hero? We want to hear heartwarming stories about businesses or individuals going above and beyond to get us through lockdown. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Kiwi butcher has been hailed a Lockdown Hero this week after he went to work helping a competing store put food on the shelves.
Reuben Sharples, who owns Aussie Butcher in New Lynn, went to work slicing and dicing at New World Green Bay to keep the grocery store stocked with meat.
The store was recently named a location of interest for Covid-19 and 30 per cent of its staff are at home self-isolating.
Jamie Brear, the owner of New World Green Bay, said Sharples offered to help as soon as he heard the store was under the pump.
"He came in yesterday and helped us cut meat and get stock on the shelves. We are pretty trimmed back with staff so he was a huge help," Brear said.
"It's all about working together to serve the community - we are all doing what we can."
Brear posted his appreciation on the New World Facebook page and others in the community were quick to show their praise.
Samantha-Jane Miranda described Sharples as an "absolute legend".
"Been going since he opened, best product, outstanding service - and run by a real community guy! So proud to live in New Lynn because of people like this who make our community so special," she said.
Sharples, who can't open under alert level 4, said he was happy to help.
"Jamie is a so-called competitor but I don't see it like that. I want to be able to get out there and help our community get through this.
"I live 400m from his shop and I get my groceries there. I've seen how many shops are closed or short of stock and I want the people in our community to be able to go down there and buy everything they need."
Sharples had lived in the west Auckland community for more than 15 years and had owned the butcher for nearly as long.
His three children attend local schools and his wife, Katie, sews and sells masks under the brand Kathryn & Me.
It isn't the first time the Sharples family has helped out.
Last Christmas Sharples donated $20,000 of meat that put dinner on the table for 600 families in need.
He also donated 150kg of meat to the Kindness Collective which helps businesses get help to New Zealanders.
And it isn't the first time Sharples and Brear have worked together for the good of the community.
Both help supply the local school with everything it needs for a successful sausage sizzle.
Sharples donates the sausages and Brear the bread and sauce.
Brear, who bought the New World store in October last year, said he was looking forward to working with Sharples again to help the community.
"I'd love to help him out as well so I have offered to buy any stock he has so it doesn't go to waste.
"I'm hoping we can work together again soon to help the community."
Unable to open his doors, Sharples was currently looking at a viable way to offer meat packs for delivery.
He was losing $7000 a week even after the wage subsidy.
"We have a lot of retired people in the community and people who can't get out so we are looking at what we can do.
"We would love to be able to open but we would need the Government to give food operators who can serve safely under level 4 an exemption for that to happen."