News and Public Notices

Supporting Local Tourism - It's Making a Difference

30 November 2020

Thanks to all of you who’ve supported the Coromandel - and local - since we came out of lockdown. It’s starting to make a difference, as reflected in our latest quarterly economic data released by Infometrics.

Economic activity for our district rose 4.1 per cent in the quarter, the ninth-highest rise nationally. Domestic tourism activity has helped the rebound, although the Auckland Level 3 restrictions did take some of the shine off the rebound. This rebound limited the year-end economic activity downturn to -1.9 per cent per annum compared to the previous year.

Some points to note from our September quarterly data:

  • With the borders closed, there was a surge in domestic tourism as Kiwis explored more of their own country.
  • Tourism spending over the last 12 months is down 3.5 per cent per annum in the area.
  • Domestic spending in the area rose at three times the national pace, increasing 33 per cent in the September quater.
  • Marketview data (which reflects spending habits) shows a 21 per cent yearly increase in consumer spending, enough to reverse the decline in spending from lockdown.
  • The annual average unemployment rate was 3.2 per cent - up from 2.6 per cent a year earlier.
  • The average current house value for our district is up 15.1 per cent compared with a year earlier. The average current house value was $811,437 compared with $734,689 the year before.

“There’s definitely some optimism for our district, but we’re hearing from our tourism and hospitality sector that while they’re preparing for a busy summer season they're still struggling to hire good staff. And this is while our unemployment rate for this quarter has increased," says our Mayor Sandra Goudie.  "We know that some workers are still employed but working fewer hours, whereas others are out of a job, but not looking for a new role yet. So that’s why we’re working with other agencies and organisations to connect those who are currently unemployed into other work, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sector.”

Look here to read the latest economic quarterly data for our district. 

New Water Taxi Service for Tairua and Pauanui

(Photo - Hayden Smith and Katy Lingard beside one of the taxi boats)

Exciting news for residents and visitors in the Tairua and Pauanui area this summer is the new water taxi service that will be operated by Hayden Smith and Katy Lingard under a new banner Tairua Water Taxis and Tours. 

Hayden and Katy have been operating the Cathedral Cove Water Taxi from Hahei since 2016. With the arrival of COVID-19, business dropped considerably with the international visitor market unable to tour our district. Looking at opportunities to generate revenue and keep the water taxi operating until business gets back to normal, Hayden and Katy looked at where they could get support from Kiwis to help them stay afloat. The Boat Show at Tairua held in August provided the perfect opportunity to test the waters and they set up a water taxi service between the Tairua Marina and Pauanui during the show. This was well received by the boating community and they received many positive comments, which encouraged them to set up a new service for Tairua and Pauanui while continuing to run the Hahei operation. 

Hayden and Katy live at Hot Water Beach, ideally located between Hahei and Tairua. Hayden has a Master’s in Marine Science and has worked in the conservation and the fisheries industries. He also does pearl diving during the winter months in Broome, North Western Australia. Katy is a speech language therapist working with children around our district from Whangamata to Port Charles. Hayden and Katy have purchased an additional boat for the new service. It is a small purpose-built water taxi that is weatherproof and capable of carrying up to 10 passengers.  

New Ferry Boat

(Photo - the new boat purchased for the ferry service)

They will operate between the Royal Billy Wharf at Pauanui, the Tairua Wharf and the Pauanui Waterways. They want to be able to support local businesses, the cafes and restaurants, the game fishing club and marina patrons, and will provide a personal unscheduled pick-up and delivery service directly from your home on the Pauanui Waterways, or the wharf, allowing you to go out to lunch or dinner and be delivered back in style. And if you want to ride the bike trail loop from Tairua to Pauanui you will be able to put your bike on the taxi to get a ride home across the harbour.

The new water taxi service is planned to begin on Saturday 19 December, you can call on 027 THE TAXI (027 843 8294), email tairuawatertaxi@gmail.com  or message their Facebook page Tairua Water Taxi and Tours.

New Business Venture for Purangi Crossing

Shanan Laird

New tourism, business ventures and ideas are sprouting up around the Coromandel in the wake of COVID-19 and the loss of overseas travellers. Shanan Laird (pictured right) from Coromandel Paddle Boarding has come up with another service to offer customers – a small rowboat ferry service at Cooks Beach.

“I now have all the consents needed to operate a small rowboat ferry service between Purangi River Reserve and Stella Evered Memorial Park” says Shanan. The boat is a standard aluminium boat that can seat three to four people. The plan is to run the service daily, until Easter, weather permitting.

The Te Ara o Hei Walkway, from Hahei, past Cathedral Cove to Stella Evered Park is expected to be open by Christmas. Shanan's ferry service will provide a connection between the Cooks Beach and Stella Evered Memorial Park section of the walkway. This new track is being funded with the NZ Lotteries Significant Grant Fund. The ferry service is likely to begin once the trail has been opened, unless there is demand for the rowboat before this date.

"Walks are a huge and growing part of recreational tourism around our district, with social and economic benefits for our communities, and we anticipate the finished Te Ara o Hei Walkway will be well-used and enjoyed by locals and visitors alike," says our Council’s Economic Development and Communications Group Manager Laurna White.

Information regarding this service can be found on the Coromandel Paddle Boarding brochures available at the Whitianga i-SITE, and Shanan will be updating the Coromandel Paddle Boarding website soon. 

For more information you can also email Shanan at kiwishanan@yahoo.co.nz.

Tourism Industry - Supporting Local Tourism Operators

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) represents all sectors of New Zealand’s large and diverse tourism industry and is here to support the Coromandel.

TIA provides various resources and tools that help local tourism businesses operate to their full potential, helping them with social media, insight, sustainability as well as providing employer and lobbying toolkits. If you want to know more about TIA or become a member, you can register here.

Go With Tourism is another great tool available for tourism operators. Known as ‘tinder for tourism', it’s an online platform that works as a job connector, helping businesses find staff. It is a game-changing approach to job search and recruitment by matching a jobseeker with an employer, based on their profiles. You can connect and get swiping here.

Qualmark helps businesses become more sustainable from a 3P perspective:

  • People
  • Planet
  • Profit

Membership is free until September 2021. More information is available here.

Also, there are links to many tools and resources available for everyone on the Tourism Sustainability Commitment website under the Take Action section.

Destination Coromandel update: Kicking off Projects to Enhance the Future Benefits of Tourism in The Coromandel

As the official Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO), Destination Coromandel recently received one-off funding of $700,000 under the Government’s COVID-19 Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP). To manage the delivery of key initiatives over the next 12 months, Destination Coromandel has appointed Whitney Steel, Project Manager, (Ngai Tai, Te Atiawa).

Whitney recently returned home to Thames after 10 years abroad in Mexico and Melbourne leading digital marketing and business transformation projects in the higher education sector. Her most recent role being with Australasia’s top institution, The University of Melbourne, working on a $20m CRM implementation project.

“Home has been calling for a while and COVID only made me jump on a plane quicker. I am thrilled to be back home in The Coromandel and in a position where I can make a difference in our region. My dad’s local business, Mussel Madness has taken a huge hit this year so supporting our community to thrive into the future is a cause close to my heart” says Whitney Steel.

The projects Whitney is leading will be crucial for the planning and development of an enhanced tourism ecosystem for The Coromandel’s future, and her focus will be on plans that can be implemented and deliver real and tangible outcomes for our businesses and community. Specifically, Whitney will lead the development of a Destination Management Plan, and programmes for regional ambassadors, regenerative tourism and sustainability. The project scope is broad and input and collaboration from all sectors of our communities will be key to deriving the real gains for our region.

That means Whitney will be out and about in The Coromandel as she meets interested parties and coordinates activities to be determined by industry consultation.

The investment plan for the 2020/2021 year includes projects in three categories to be delivered by the Destination Coromandel team and partners:

1. Destination Management and Planning

  • Destination Management Plan
  • Regenerative Tourism Programme (RTO collaboration – tourism by design)
  • Ambassador Programme (RTO collaboration - merits of tourism for the region)
  • Kaimoana Coast (provenance of place - ocean to plate)
  • Marketview (subscription to visitor spend data)
  • Trip Tech (RTO collaboration - subscription to motorhome and rental car data)
  • Tourism insights (RTO collaboration – visitor data aggregation)

2. Industry Capacity Building and Product Development

  • Gold Heritage (assessment of product potential along the Hauraki Rail Trail)
  • Pūkorokoro Shorebird Centre (hero product case study: tourism/education/conservation)
  • Whangamatā Ridges Mountain Bike Park (progression plan to park of national calibre)
  • Te Ara ā Toi (RTO collaboration – Māori tourism businesses in The Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Tairāwhiti Gisborne)
  • Sustainability Programme (advancing business performance)
  • Significance of Place (celebrating biodiversity and cultural heritage)
  • Signature Event Fund (supporting events to stimulate domestic travel)

3. Domestic Marketing

  • Where Kiwis Holiday (inaugural summer campaign)
  • eXplore Consumer Show (RTO collaboration)
  • Signature Event Fund (to stimulate domestic travel)

How the campaign is tracking:

The first phase of the campaign was dreaming and awareness activity.

Topline results since the launch in August:

  • 5M people reached with digital content
  • 20M (estimated) views of our campaign billboards and bus-backs
  • Over 500k people watched our campaign video series "Child's Play"

To date The Coromandel is doing well. The regional spends so far are:

Marketview November 2020 Stats

(Photo source: Marketview November 2020)

We do know that we will have to work hard to make up the deficit of $70M left by the absence of international tourists over the coming months. The latest industry survey results from Tourism New Zealand indicate that business respondents in the Coromandel showed the highest levels of confidence in the country.  But overall there is still a lot of concern over the outlook for the next 12 months.

What's Next?

The second phase is conversion, where driving bookings is the main objective.  This is achieved by digital marketing leading visitors to packages and offers on The Coromandel website. There is high visibility for your business in this phase of the campaign so you need to contact Megan (megan@thecoromandel.com) to:

  • Update packages or deals for specific peak/post-peak periods when you need bookings.
  • List your summer event.
  • Make sure your business listing on newzealand.com and thecoromandel.com is current.
  • Use #wherekiwisholiday, #goodforyoursoul, @thecoromandel so we can share your content.
  • Tell us your stories, gems, and things people don't know about you/your business so we can pitch them to our media contacts and share across our channels.

For more detail on the campaign and STAPP project, a recording of webinar is here.

Coromandel Food Collective Says Cheers

We want to say cheers to all the food producers who joined us at the Auckland Food show. The Auckland Food Show is helping to put Coromandel on the map as a 'food experience hotspot'. We had five producers on our Coromandel Food Collective stand last week, with some good outcomes.

“Food is becoming more and more important for tourism across the district and we have amazing restaurants, cafes, markets, home-made products and not to mention approximately 90 per cent of the North Island’s Green Shell mussels are loaded in Coromandel Town each year,” says Laurna White, our Economic Development and Communications Group Manager.

Omahu Valley Citrus, a small family business run by Simon and Caroline Marriott, had a few business proposals while showcasing their products last week. One came from a shop opening in Tauranga in January 2021 that wants to sell their products. There were also a couple of other business proposals that Caroline said she is planning to follow up with.

2020 Food Show

(Photo - Omahu Valley Citrus selling products)

The Cheese Barn, owned and operated by Cathy and Kelvin Haigh, has been a small local business for over 20 years. They were absolutely overwhelmed with how successful the food show was. The Cheese Barn has come out of the food show with five business proposals, one of which is a butchery wanting to buy their Quark (a cheese similar to Ricotta). As soon as she gets on top of her new workload, Cathy plans to follow up with the other proposals. You can find out more about The Cheese Barn and their products here.

“It was way better than it was three years ago,” says Cathy, who is behind with work due to all the products that were sold at the food show.

Overall, we had incredibly positive feedback. Everyone wanted to reiterate how friendly TCDC staff were and what a great team of people there was from TCDC.

If you’re a local food producer or looking to develop local product – get in touch with our Economic Development Team who can help with advice. Call 07 868 0200 to talk to Yvonne Franklin or Michael Jones.

Connectivity after COVID: Ultra-Fast Broadband Rollout Making a Difference to our District

Our Mayor Sandra Goudie sat with the AM Show at the Waiomu Beach Café to talk about the importance of Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) to our district. Fourteen Coromandel Peninsula communities have been selected for the installation of UFB, with the build starting in Thames in 2017 and then working progressively around the district in a clockwise direction until completion in 2022. This will give households and businesses in these 14 communities the potential to connect to much faster broadband than is currently available.

"Faster broadband is important to meet anticipated growth in data consumption and to help stimulate economic development across the region,” says Mayor Sandra Goudie. "We’re already hearing from our communities how faster broadband is improving productivity, making it better to connect online with friends and family, as well as improve business outcomes in a post-COVID lockdown world.”

“We would still like to have seen areas such as Hot Water Beach included on this list and we will continue to lobby for its inclusion because it's a huge visitor destination and needs to be given priority,” says Mayor Sandra.

Watch the AM shows interview with the Mayor here along with the separate interview with Coromandel Town business owner Josie from Umu Cafe talking about UFB installation and how it's improved her business. 

In the Coromandel Region there is a total of 2734 connections, a 41% uptake:

  • Thames
    Total connections: 1859
    57 % uptake
  • Whitianga
    Total connections: 378
    24% uptake
  • Coromandel Town
    Total connections: 179
    22% uptake

The national average uptake as of end of September 2020 is 62%.

Comments from some Thames business on the way they work now with UFB:

  • Information is obtained and transferred super quickly.
  • Where we would have previously phoned agencies to obtain information around funding for patients, we now obtain this info quickly online.
  • Electronic claims occur quickly - without UFB we and our clients would be frustrated.
  • Our entire business is relying on SAP for almost every operation, and in the year we have been on fibre we have seen an improvement in speed which has increased our productivity.
  • UFB has enabled us to offer more efficient remote support to our customers. It has not fundamentally changed how we operate but has made support a lot more efficient and upgrading etc faster.
  • We are running more cloud services now for our customers and ourselves.

Here are the dates regarding the UFB installation in other towns:

  • Whangamata is December 2021
  • Tairua is December 2022
  • Pauanui is December 2022

We have a UFB area map here.

Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf Wharf Project Update

Thanks to everyone who came to our drop-in sessions last week. We had around 80 people come through the doors looking at the detailed design and asking about a range of issues, from car parking and potential noise impacts, through to questions about dredging.

We’re now working through further technical studies and some on-site investigation progressed. Lodgement of the resource consent will be before the end of the year.

An operating agreement on how Te Ariki Tahi/Sugarloaf Wharf Company will operate the facility, and what input TCDC may have into operations is underway. A report will come to council meeting in the new year to discuss the future ownership of the Sugarloaf Wharf asset, along with direction on the operational transitional arrangements for the facility.

You can find more information here.

Kopu Marine and Business Precinct Project Update

The stakeholder workshops on the final design are completed and the final design locked in. The environment and site tests have started, and resource consent is looking to be lodged in December.

We have tenders out now for works we will need to do around construction for next year. You can read tender information here.

i-SITEs and Visitor Information

If you need any information about the Coromandel, please visit or call any one of our I-SITEa or visitor information centres. You can find information here.