Go Local.

It's a simple concept. Spend your money locally so that our regional economy benefits. And then we all benefit.

At first glance, there are some obvious ways to do this. Our hospitality industry is getting back on its feet and many of us will welcome the chance to get out of the house and into a cafe, bar or restaurant.

As a craft beer lover, there is a new bar coming to Napier which was poised to open just before we went into lockdown. How sweet a locally brewed craft beer is going to taste when that bar finally gets to open. Already, many of us have left the house to grab takeaways, and coffee.


And as the Covid-19 levels reduce and more social interaction is allowed, our options will increase. Go Local is also about highlighting innovation, such as the Hawke's Bay at Home website featuring more than 80 restaurants, cafes, bars, brewers and wineries which are offering food and drink options via contactless delivery or pick-up.

Many of these businesses will continue to offer this service post Covid-19. It's a little too early to tell, but tough times brings out the best and worst in people, and an initiative like this is an example of regional excellence.

So too was the tracing app that was developed early in the Covid 19 lockdown period, by Napier software company Webfox. The app is a good example of Go Local, because Go Local is not just about spending hospitality or retail dollars.

It's about the concept of championing companies like Webfox. Go Local! It's about using local services, local produce, making selective pro-Bay choices in the next few months.

Our tourism is going to rely on domestic visitors in the next few months, maybe even the next year, while restrictions on overseas visitors are in place.

Remember the saying - it might have even been a campaign - "don't leave town 'til you've seen the country!" We should support our Hawke's Bay tourism operators by using them, so that the personal experience informs and strengthens our advocacy of local operators and the region.

We need to think outside the square. If the Mission Winery concerts for Rod Stewart are on hold this year, then what about a New Zealand music, wine and food festival to replace them?

In four weeks, our lives have changed forever. They won't be the same again and it would a mistake to just wait for things to get back to "normal".


We will have a new "normal", we just don't quite know what it looks like yet. But we do know, that if we Go Local, it will be a massive help in getting us there.