Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard shares key messages and reflections from a business perspective and tips for surviving the lockdown.
Could Covid-19 lead to a new beginning?
As a tourism-focused economy, Rotorua was affected earlier than most NZ cities by the Covid-19 outbreak. It has been a rapidly evolving and escalating situation, and very difficult for businesses to comprehend. The prospect of zero (or close to zero) income for an indeterminable time is a lot to come to terms with and many of us (myself included), originally wondered if New Zealand was over-reacting to the problem.
However, events have proven the Government's reaction was totally warranted and well-executed. Our thanks to them! I think there is now widespread acceptance, support, and compliance with the measures that have been put into place.
The Rotorua Chamber of Commerce has been contracted to play a triage role, which involves registering businesses in need of help and sending them to the right place to seek the available government support packages. We are also working (from home) with others to run webinars and on-line sessions designed to help people get the support needed.
This includes things like HR advice, financial planning in stressful times, leading organisations through adversity, planning for the recovery and just plain old mental health and wellbeing. Go to www.rotoruachamber.co.nz and click on events to see more.
Meantime all the "normal" scheduled events are on hold until the crisis passes.
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This is not going to restore the situation to pre-Covid times, but it does help to share the burden, bolster one another's morale and prepare for the recovery. To me, this is the most important thing we can do at this time.
This is a terribly tough time for everyone, but we also know that it will end, so let's focus on getting to that happy place as quickly as possible.
On the positive side, it seems that some good things are emerging from the adversity. I feel that we are re-learning some of the lessons that our parents and grandparents who survived the war, knew well, but society has lost over time.
Things like the pointlessness of materialism, consumerism, vanity and excessive wealth gathering. Also the importance of aroha, manaakitanga (caring for one another), and appreciating our whānau and friends. Maybe we are re-calibrating our core values.
While industry halts and we are all in lockdown, the Earth has a chance to begin healing from over-exploitation, waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions.
Could it be that a new beginning is emerging here?