This week, as we prepare to feel the effects of another change to alert levels, the message of "be kind" by leaning into this uncertainty is easily forgotten during change.
Together we can recover. Collectively, we all have a role to play to ensure we have positive economic and social outcomes despite the looming anniversary of Covid, and our community strength is the answer to this.
Often it's our tourism industry that is the canary in the coal mine. Our tourism operators get hit the hardest by cancelled bookings when lockdowns are swiftly activated, and now more than ever it is seen how our Te Tai Tokerau Northland business community has maintained a resilient disposition.
Hard mahi and adjustments to hygiene and safety requirements, along with additional resources and staffing, are huge undertakings for our SME entrepreneurs, particularly for the mum-and-dad shops that keep Northland going.
Economic indicators like employment rates and tourism spend in our region have not been as bad as predicted. As well as traditional economic measures, our Growth Advisor team at Northland Inc hear every day about the impacts of the recovery efforts for the past 12 months has taken on our businesses, friends, and whanau, collectively we have all been impacted.
With each change in alert level there is a cost to all businesses and our region to continue operating and those that rise up to meet it are the ones we're seeing thrive.
Today I wanted to tautoko, thank and recognise a small number of businesses I've seen lean into what has been an unpredictable time, making bold decisions to forge on into new business ventures.
Brewed As café
Brewed As café in Mangawhai Heads is a passion project established by Anna and Gareth Wilson. In the last 12 months they have continued to hire a good number of staff into the Heads.
Their thoughtful offering resonates with the strong regular following, and they can't help but lean into this year by branching out into delicious dinners.
Loco is such an appropriate name for a new restaurant opening in Whangārei during a global pandemic. Lloyd and Mike's bold decision to open a South American-inspired eatery and bar in 2020 has provided numerous employment opportunities and is a welcome vibrant addition to the Town Basin. We salute you!
The Huts Ahipara
The Huts Ahipara are run by Adam and Kelly. They are new to our Far North tourism sector and the first year they opened they've withstood droughts and Covid, not to mention a devastating scrub fire that threatened their front doorsteps during peak summer operations. They are the definition of our resilient Northland spirit to establish this new venture, keep up the good mahi.
Based in Kerikeri, Robotech Contractors intended to start in 2020 with a unique remote-controlled land-clearing mulcher business. February floods and alert level changes last year threatened to scupper best-laid business plans, but I'm pleased to say Andy's resilience and entrepreneurial gumption means he can continue to lean into business this year.
Turner and French
Turner and French by Eliza and Nathalie are two inspiring Northland wāhine toa who meticulously planned their launch into the ferociously competitive athleisure apparel space, hitting the ground in May 2020.
As you can recall this could not have come at a worse time to rely on global supply chains. Nevertheless, they have continued with a sustainable and growing business to lean into 2021.
We have a myriad of resilient and impressive tourism operators that have been bold and leaned into uncertainty. There are so many who have created new products to cater to a very last-minute and sometimes unpredictable domestic market.
I am proud and encouraged by our relentless and entrepreneurial Northland business community who are contributing to economic recovery. Lean into the new ideas, stay bold, and innovate.
These examples today are a small sample of our community making economic rebounds possible by sharing good ideas. We can celebrate their success.
We are all part of the solution and recovery, and we must participate collectively and bring each other along on the journey. It is by sharing their experiences that we can inspire optimism, hope, and kindness so we can all lean into the next 12 months, whatever they may bring.
Speak with the Growth Advisor team at Northland Inc today to find out how we can support your latest business idea.
• Sophie Wiltshier is an innovation specialist and head of the growth adviser team at Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency.