A ‘Mighty Local’ campaign is underway to share Waikato stories, public messages and promote local essential services to boost businesses affected by the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 national lockdown.
‘Mighty Local’ - a collaboration between Te Waka, the Waikato regional development agency, and Hamilton & Waikato Tourism - is supported by all councils in the region.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate she was “1000 (one thousand) per cent” behind the effort and urged Hamiltonians to jump on board.
“I know people and business are hurting and we can all really help by thinking hard about where we shop during the lockdown. Lots of great Hamilton and Waikato businesses are still trading including retailers, gyms, butchers and bakers.”
“These people are our neighbours, our friends and our family, and they need us right now, more than ever. So let’s show them we support them” she added.
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism Chief Executive Jason Dawson, has the same message:
“We encourage all Waikato people to buy locally, support local businesses and find things to do at home from family fun through to exercise and well-being activities offered by companies from within our community.”
“We also want to share the stories from our local producers and businesses, and once the travel restrictions are lifted, get more residents out experiencing what our fantastic region has to offer,’ he says.
Some Waikato food and service sector businesses are able to operate during the lockdown– including butchers, dairy and organic food retailers, bakeries, and coffee roasters.
They are all trading from online ordering platforms and have contactless delivery.
One such business is Volare Bakery, which has five Waikato retail outlets, forced to close for the lockdown.
“Basically, we had to re-look at our business and change quickly. During the process of gaining approval as an essential business, we designed and built our own online non-contact ordering system. Once approved as an essential supplier we launched, within a week,” says co-owner Ed Hemming.
“It gives all our amazing local customers the ability to continue eating great bread for a small delivery charge. We will continue this service after lockdown.”
Others operating under lockdown include health and wellness businesses, offering - many for the first-time - online classes.
Sarah MacDonald of Balance Yoga Cambridge is using Facebook Live to connect with her students.
“This is my first foray into teaching live online classes. I’m not the most tech-savvy person, but we’re getting there. Plenty of my students are joining me online, which is great and lots of new people are connecting with me too, which I didn’t expect,” she says.
“Everyone appreciates these are such unprecedented times and we are all finding our way and doing what we can.”
“Most businesses in the Waikato economy are suffering, and that is why we are urging everyone to really think about what they can do now, and after the lockdown, to support our local businesses and their communities,” says Te Waka Chief Executive Michael Bassett-Foss.
“The long-term goal is to rally community support and we strongly encourage Waikato people to shop, buy, eat, visit, stay, meet, experience and explore their own ‘backyard’ once travel restrictions are lifted,” he says.
To find out more, visit www.mightylocal.nz and use the hashtags #MightyLocal and #MightyWaikato.