A business wellness initiative to place Wairoa in the best possible position post-pandemic is being delivered by Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust, the Post-Settlement Governance Entity, and the Wairoa District Council.
The partnership has been working together to deliver Pākihi Ora, business wellness, to support Wairoa businesses in the wake of COVID-19.
Work has included a stocktake with local businesses to examine how they have been impacted and what practical support they need coming out of lockdown and moving through the COVID-19 Alert Levels.
“Getting our local businesses back up and running is our priority,” said Denise Eaglesome-Karekare, who is Chair of the Economic Development Committee and Te Wairoa Tāpokorau Whānui Trust.
Lewis Ratapu, General Manager for Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust, said through this mahi the aim is to get a deep understanding of local business needs, which provides a basis for getting the right support back into the district, be it from government agencies or other partners.
“We know Aotearoa is in unprecedented times and our economic development approach and related support must be responsive and focus on the sustainability and growth of local businesses and jobs,” Mr Ratapu said.
Pākihi Ora has already undertaken reviews with more than 60 businesses from across the Wairoa district, ranging from main street retail operators, to farmers and those in the food and accommodation industries.
Businesses have been contacted through email, phone calls, Facebook, Iwi and Māori networks and business networks such as Vision Projects and Wairoa Enterprises.
Local businesses have identified they need support relating to finances and compliance, strategic and business planning, sales and marketing and improving online presence and ecommerce.
Ms Eaglesome-Karekare said community members have told them that even after lockdown, they may be a bit hesitant about going into shops and having contact with others.
“All businesses are going to need to think about how they operate, especially in terms of hygiene, physical distancing for customers and staff, and contact tracing,” she said.
A ‘shop local’ campaign coming out of lockdown and a district-wide online business database are some of the practical approaches which could be considered coming out of the review, alongside specific business support.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said Council is pleased to be able to work with Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust on Pākihi Ora and hear the voice and needs of our local businesses.
“The big thing our business owners and our local customers need to understand is there is now a new normal - things have changed. We need to work together to make sure our local economy is strong and resilient, now and for generations to come,” said Mayor Little.
Work on the Pākihi Ora initiative is ongoing and recommendations from the work will inform a larger Wairoa business case to government which is being developed by Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust, Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust and the Wairoa District Council.
Lewis Ratapu – General Manager Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust, 022 010 3350
Denise Eaglesome-Karekare – WDC Chair of the Economic Development Committee, 021 835 794
20 April 2020
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