Taupō and Tūrangi businesses are thinking outside the square, combining forces to offer a $14,000 prize package for an essential worker getaway family stay in the district.

Organiser Katie Jolly, of Chris Jolly Outdoors, says any essential worker from around New Zealand can be nominated via social media for the Essential Worker Mega Prize Getaway to Taupō and the winner will be drawn at random. The competition provides a national forum to share what essential workers have been doing for Kiwis during the Covid-19 crisis.

Jolly says essential workers have been the backbone of keeping our country operating at level 4, and the competition is a way to showcase their stories.

"One of the early nominations included Jo Toma from Awhi Midwives and Taupō Maternity. Jo has worked tirelessly every day throughout the Covid-19 lockdown to ensure maternity services are available to the women and whanau of Taupō, Tūrangi and beyond. It is stories like these, that highlight the heart of this district."


The prize giveaway is also a way of promoting Taupō and Tūrangi to the nation. Tourism is one of the district's main employers and operators have suffered huge losses due to the pandemic.

Jolly says that as people view the video, created by Corbie Films, they will also see some of the local activities and attractions. As well as tourism the prize showcases other offerings including local cafes, an artist, a skincare range and beauty therapy.

Jolly says following Covid-19 she would like to see the Taupō district promoted as "the heart of New Zealand", encompassing all communities around Lake Taupō.

"Let's change our focus from the individual to the collective, and rather than being negative, find a way to work together. He waka eke noa. From my heart to your hearts, the way forward is whānaungatanga."

The competition went live last week, and nominations can be posted in the comments on the post. It closes on May 20. The winner will be drawn and announced on May 21.

In addition to the main prize, there will be six runner-up prizes of two nights' accommodation with breakfast.

To enter yourself or somebody else, search Facebook using the hashtag #essential worker mega prize getaway.

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