Late last week, I hosted the launch of the 2020 Westpac Rotorua Business Awards.
It was the first local business event I'd been to post-lockdown, and I can happily admit to being pleasantly surprised at the feeling within the function room.
Despite everything that has gone on and continues to impact Rotorua and our businesses, there was a real sense of positivity which was heartening.
Congrats to the Rotorua Business Chamber for deciding to continue with the event this year, and for the way they have reimagined the whole thing.
The fact that anybody in the community can make a nomination is really inclusive, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how the new NZME People's Choice Award unfolds as well.
From the initial nominations, a finalist list will be open for public voting, the first time something like this has happened at these awards.
I am sure some of the popular tourism, retail and hospo businesses will be there, but I think the recent focus on essential workers and their business may have an impact on voting.
This year has been a tough one, and there are still tough times ahead. But I agree that we still need to get the community together to celebrate what is great about Rotorua, its businesses and its people - to remind ourselves that despite the issues, we can stand together and be proud of what we have done here in Rotorua.
I got an email this week, which I opened with a bit of excitement and anticipation.
The email was announcing a nationwide concert tour by The Howard Morrison Quartet Take Two, featuring Howard Morrison Jnr, Russell Harrison, Chris Powley and Andre King.
They are taking to the road in October with a two-hour show to celebrate and recreate the magic of the NZ entertainment phenomenon that was the original Howard Morrison Quartet.
Due to the current restrictions around Covid-19, these performers have finally been able to take time out from their international commitments to organise this long-awaited national tour in honour of Howie's dad and his much-loved quartet, in fact timed to mark the 10 year anniversary of Sir Howard's passing.
Thirteen dates around Aotearoa, with some famous venues like Auckland's Bruce Mason Theatre, Wellington Opera House and James Hay Theatre in Christchurch. Even Greymouth, Blenheim and Tauranga get a visit.
Despite Rotorua missing from the 13-date schedule, it has been said locals shouldn't worry as there is a Rotorua show being planned.
The SHMPAC is of course out of action right now for earthquake strengthening and refurb.
Shows and concerts form a major part of our fabric, and it is events such as this that highlight just how important an asset like this is to a community. And yet many still question whether money should be spent on the venue?
Paul Hickey is the host of the locally based 9am-3pm show on The Hits Rotorua 97.5FM. Follow on Facebook The Hits Rotorua and on Twitter @paulhickeynz