World's first grocery delivery to beaches launched for Coromandel holidaymakers.

New Zealand has done it again with a world first: groceries delivered to the beach by amphibious vehicles while you're on holiday.

New World has introduced a service called New World Waka Kai – where groceries will be delivered to six Coromandel beaches over the Kiwi holiday break.

Why Coromandel? Because the usually sleepy peninsula sees its population swell by about 500,000 visitors every summer. That led Kerry and Sara Stanley, owner-operators of New World Whitianga, to have a lightbulb moment.

"Traffic in Whitianga is absolutely bananas over summer," he says. "We only have one road in and one out. Our supermarket aisles are packed with people trying to shop and the roads are heaving with hot, frustrated drivers and carsick kids."

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So the pair invested in New World Waka Kai as a way for their customers to pick up supplies without having to fight through hordes of holidaymakers.

"The increase in traffic, on foot and by road, is crazy, especially for locals," he says. "What we've come up with involves a massive decrease in distance travelled – it's just 3km from Whitianga to Cooks Beach by sea, compared to 35km by road.

"It occurred to me that we could come up with a scheme where our customers can stay right where they want to be – the beach – but still take care of essentials."

Alongside traditional collection and delivery, the New World Whitianga team created another option: a boat to deliver groceries to Cooks Beach, Pauanui, Opito Bay, Matarangi, Hahei and Whangapoua.

Photo / Supplied.
Photo / Supplied.

That's where Sealegs comes in. The bright red amphibious craft are rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) with three wheels so they can operate on land as well as sea. Pippa Prain, head of marketing for New World, says the combination means holidaymakers can "skip the store and stay on shore".

"Coromandel is a Kiwi holiday hotspot," she says. "While homeowners and holidayers love to spend the Christmas period in this beautiful part of the country, getting groceries can be a mission.

"Kerry and Sara know and understand the traffic difficulties customers face over the holiday period – but all that changes with New World Waka Kai."

Shoppers can now simply shop online at Ishopnewworld.co.nz, select New World Whitianga as their store and opt for delivery "by boat" to have their online order delivered to one of six Coromandel beaches.

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Here's how New World Waka Kai will work:

  • Customers place an IShop order with New World Whitianga (ishopnewworld.co.nz).
  • They can choose from three delivery options: 'click and collect', 'delivery by van' or 'delivery by boat'. $15 for orders under $200, and $10 for orders over $200.
  • They then pick a day and time slot for their preferred beach delivery location.
  • Customers will receive a text message or phone call the night before from store staff confirming the exact time, within their chosen time frame, the boat lands at the beach. This gives New World staff time to factor in tides and weather.
  • The skipper and boaties will make the journey from Whitianga to Coromandel beaches in the bright red Sealegs Waka Kai.

"We think Waka Kai is a world first and will be very popular," says Prain. "The bright red boat and the New World uniforms will be easy to find on the selected beaches at designated drop-off locations. All customers have to do is bring their bags and chilly bins.

"It is a really innovative idea from Kerry and Sara – and we think it will mean everyone in the Coromandel has a better shot at a stress-free holiday and certainly no more road rage."

If the scheme is successful, New World will look at introducing it to other regions in the future.

For more information: www.newworld.co.nz/whitianga