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29 Apr 20: Rising up to the ‘Mighty Local’ challenge in Level 3

Waikato residents are stepping up to support their “Mighty Locals” as the region rallies to support businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the move to Level 3 this week, businesses are finding new ways to trade with customers, through contactless delivery and pickup services.       

Punnet, a popular Tamahere eatery, opened for contactless pickups today as well as free local delivery of their Punnet at Home prepared meals range, with a $5 delivery charge a to Hamilton and Cambridge.  

“We have worked really hard to offer this new service, from designing the app, creating the menu, and completing all the testing over the weekend,” said owner and operator Haley Bicknell.  

“For us, it has been so lovely to see our regulars again and to give them a wave from the window.”

“Their support is absolutely what is keeping us going at the moment.  We couldn’t be more thankful for the people who live in our community for getting behind us.”

“What we are seeing is this innovative thinking is drawing in customers keen to ‘support local’ in the Waikato right now,” says Jason Dawson, chief executive of Hamilton Waikato Tourism.

“We are strongly urging Waikato people to really think what they can do personally to support businesses, by buying local, eating local and experiencing local.”

Waikato Artisan ice cream maker Duck Island has also seen strong support as they prepared for deliveries in Hamilton, Cambridge and Auckland this week, as well as a click and collect service from its Hamilton East and Auckland stores. 

“The support and the influx of online orders has just been incredible,” says co-owner Kim Higgison. “It is really heartening to see.”

Frank’s Sausage, a gourmet sausage producer in Paeroa, is reporting a 400-500 percent increase in sale on its online store, in the last month.

The business is also donating free packets of sausages to foodbanks for every online sale.

“We just feel very grateful that we are up and operating,” says director Sheryn Cook.  “So far we have been able to donate four or five 20-kilogram boxes to the local foodbanks.”

For their online store, they have reduced the delivery fee to just $5 nationwide. 

Te Waka Chief executive Michael Bassett-Foss said the ‘support local’ message was critical, especially as businesses from across sectors in the Waikato have staff returning to jobs this week.

“A big adjustment is required from small to large scale businesses across the Waikato economy, and they require support to get through this time.”

It is a matter for survival for many businesses, who have been able to get through with the Government’s wage subsidy scheme but who have severely affected cashflow.

They need sales to pay their outgoings like rent, wages and supplier costs – as well as secure their long-term viability.

The Mighty Local campaign – a collaboration between Hamilton Waikato Tourism and Te Waka, the regional economic development agency, is strongly pushing the ‘buy local’ message.  The website lists Waikato food and beverage, entertainment, retail and service-related businesses customers can purchase from.

It also features recipes from local chefs, profiles virtual tours from local attractions and shares the stories of many Waikato businesses and how they are adapting to the changes and their plans for recovery - now and beyond. #MightyLocal #MightyWaikato