Latest News & Public Notices

We're open for business - welcome back

15 May 2020

The move to Alert Level 2 is good news for businesses and workers in our district, now open for business and travel.

“Welcome back to the Coromandel,” our Mayor Sandra Goudie says.

“Now that people can travel again, our holiday home owners will be hanging out to get back to the Coromandel, as will other people keen to get out of the cities and explore with their families,” she says.

“Now is the time for Kiwis to enjoy our own backyard, support tourism and help our economy get back on its feet.”

The Coromandel has just been voted the best place in New Zealand for a road trip. BMW New Zealand surveyed 1000 Kiwis on their immediate travel plans post-COVID 19 and almost four in five planned a domestic drive holiday, with the Coromandel being top of the list for a tiki tour.

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) is launching a campaign to kickstart motorhome tourism, encouraging its members to get out and support motorhome-friendly towns. In the Coromandel, this includes Coromandel Town, Whitianga and Whangamata. More information below.

As people come to enjoy our wide open spaces, we’re reminding people about our Coromandel Tracks and Trails Guide for ideas of walks and bike trails to explore. Pick one up at a Council service centre, visitor information centre or have a look online here

Check out the Destination Coromandel website for more ideas, or grab an official Visitor Guide for the Coromandel, available at visitor centres and i-SITES around the district.

“New Zealanders have got more freedom than we’ve had in the last seven weeks and we are all looking forward to being able to socialise, dine out, visit shops and travel around the country,” Mayor Sandra says.

“It’s a time to celebrate, but be safe.  No one wants a second wave.

“Please remember, there are government requirements around physical distancing, gatherings and contact-tracing under Alert Level 2 that we need to follow.”

Details on these requirements are on the Government’s COVID-19 website here.

In this update:

  • Waikato Economic Radar - latest data on our region
  • i-SITE and Visitor Centres update
  • Motorhome-friendly towns promotion
  • Tourism industry update
  • Events forum
  • Waikato hospitality webinar
  • Mighty Waikato e-cookbook - out now
  • Job-matching website Waikato Nxtstep 

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Waikato Economic Radar

Te Waka, with the support of Waikato Regional Council economists Blair Keenan and Sarah MacKay, continues to collate data to gauge what is happening in the Waikato economy as a result of COVID-19.

Charts in this week’s radar show minor improvements since last week, reflecting the impact of having more business open under Alert Level 3. Now we are in Alert Level 2, we expect to see more pronounced shifts in spending and traffic flows over the weeks ahead.

The weekly radar is available to view here.

i-SITES and Visitor Centres

With the exception of the Whangamata Visitor Centre, all our visitor centres have re-opened, with the following hours:

Thames i-SITE:  10am – 1:30pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday.

Whitianga i-SITE: 10am – 1:30pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday.

Coromandel Town Visitor Centre: 7 days a week, 10am-3:00pm.
Tairua Visitor Centre:  Monday-Friday, 10am - 2pm.

Pauanui Visitor Centre: 7 days a week, 10am - 4pm.

Whangamata Visitor Centre: Opening from 25 May, 7 days a week, 10am- 3pm at this stage, but will assess the situation and may reopen sooner. 

For more information on our visitor centres, and on visiting the Coromandel, go to the website of Destination Coromandel, our regional tourism marketing organisation.

Whangamata Visitor Centre under new management

The Whangamata Multi-Sport Club Inc. has been approved to manage, service and operate the Whangamata Information Centre from 1 July 2020.

The club's principal activity is the progressive development of a mountain bike park to serve the local community and the region's many active tourist visitors. The management and operation of the information centre will be led by Whangamata MultiSport Club general manager Richard White, supported by wife Lynne White and daughter-in-law Rachel Forbes.  

Richard has an extensive business background working with high-growth start-ups, SMEs and exporters. He was previously employed by NZ Trade and Enterprise and prior to that in the commercial and corporate banking field. He was also Trade Commissioner to India from 2012 - 2015. 

Rachel has a background in project and event management, marketing and sponsorship.  She has worked in London, travelled extensively and is passionate about tourism. She believes the visitor centre has the potential to play a significantly more pivotal role in the Whangamata community.  

Their vision is to refine the current business model to one that is community-focused, but sustainable and ready for growth when the world returns to normal post-COVID-19.   Their aim is to deliver on the potential that exists to create a community hub that is open, collaborative and supportive to all businesses and stakeholders.

Council and the Whangamata Community Board wish them the best with the venture, and also pass on their thanks to the Whangamata Community Gardens for running the centre over the past six months.

You can read the report to Council here

Motorhome-friendly towns promotion

For tourism-related businesses, the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) is launching a multi-pronged promotional campaign to kickstart motorhome tourism – at no cost to businesses that wish to participate.

A key component of the campaign will be Motorhome Friendly Celebration – a full-colour magazine to be produced and distributed to the NZMCA’s 95,000-plus members in late July.

Focused on encouraging members to get out and support the motorhome friendly towns (MHFTs), the publication will feature a double-page editorial spread on each of the 56 MHFTs.

In our district, these are Coromandel Town, Whitianga and Whangamata, which means they are vetted by NZMCA as providing amenities and services that guarantee motor caravanners a warm welcome and enjoyable visit.

To participate, get in touch with:

  • Judy Murray, motorhome friendly towns (MHF) & special events coordinator 09 298 5466 (ext 707)
  • Gillian Rutherford - club affairs manager - 09 298 5466 (ext 706)

 Tourism industry update - Good for your soul

For many in the visitor industry, the move to Level 2 will have been a welcome relief, as getting back to business is now possible.

"While we still have a long road to recovery and business may not look like it did pre-COVID, it is now time to get on and do what we love... telling our stories, sharing our place and welcoming one and all back to The Coromandel," Destination Coromandel says in its newsletter this week.

The regional tourism organisation is working on the first-ever summer campaign for the Coromandel, designed to reignite past summer activity by stimulating desire and increasing visitation.

In the meantime, it's continuing with the planned winter 'Good for your soul' campaign, which will showcase The Coromandel as an ideal destination for our drive market (Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty) to get away and recharge. Key components are wellness, healthful activities, local cuisine and retail shopping.

For more information on how local businesses in the industry can get involved, check out Destination Coromandel's newsletter here.

Destination Coromandel is encouraging tourism operators to sign up to its industry newsletter  by scrolling to the bottom of the home page on and list on the website too.  For the year ahead, there’ll be no listing fee as Destination Coromandel looks to stimulate travel to The Coromandel. Sign up to be included here.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), together with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and WorkSafe has consulted with businesses to set out the minimum requirements for all activity operators who intend to be open for business in Alert Level 2. Destination Coromandel has shared these on its website here.

Support for the tourism sector in the Budget

Yesterday, the Government announced a $400 million targeted Tourism Recovery Fund as part of Budget 2020

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said this was alongside the extension of the wage subsidy scheme and a domestic tourism campaign, assisting the industry to recover and restart. 

"This targeted package will go over and above the Government's broad-based support of businesses and workers and reflects the importance of tourism to Aotearoa, our economy and our people," Kelvin Davis said in a statement. 

"This will fund a domestic tourism campaign. Tourism New Zealand has this week begun work to showcase New Zealand on social media, promoting safe travel to New Zealanders. Further domestic activity will roll out soon, including a nationwide campaign," he said.

"This package is designed to help the tourism sector at this point of our journey together. As we move through our recovery, we will look at what further support we may need to provide in the days to come."

For more on what the response package includes, click here.

Events forum

A working group had been established for event organisers around the district to share ideas and information.

Contact our district events coordinator if you are interested in joining or to find out how Council can support your event going forward.

Waikato hospitality webinar - 'Back in the habit'

Te Waka, our regional economic development agency for Waikato, is hosting a hospitality sector webinar about getting customers 'back in the habit' of coming in and seeing you and purchasing your products. 

The webinar is for restaurant owners and managers, with detail on getting your business back to speed legally and with happy customers. 

When: 11am-12:30am on  Wednesday. 20 May.

Information and registration here.

Te Waka is also supporting businesses in the following ways:

Guidance for employers:

Te Waka offers general information about the employment space, including the support systems in place, in an article available here

Business information
Te Waka’s website has more COVID-19 links and important information for business on its website here

Connect and learn through a webinar 
Watch one of Te Waka’s recent webinars on a range of business support topics Upcoming topics include resilient leadership and how to adjust to change. Explore the webinars here

Business support is just a Zoom call away
Business advisors from Te Waka are now booking Zoom online meeting slots with Waikato business owners. Book now and chat to someone. Advisors can also talk by phone, if that is preferred. More information here  To secure a slot, call Te Waka on 07 857 0538; or email

Mighty Waikato e-cookbook

The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, with support from Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, has launched the Mighty Waikato Cookbook.

A culinary journey of the Waikato from the  mountains to the sea, the e-book has more than 50 recipes and celebrates some of our favourite food establishments in the Waikato, encourages local support as the hospitality industry starts to open doors again,

The e-book also raises money to help put food on the table for the region’s most vulnerable during recovery from COVID-19.

Every donation received for an online copy will go directly to community support projects by Momentum Waikato and Wise Group.

How your donation will help:

Momentum Waikato’s Greatest Needs Appeal raises money to accelerate and secure the delivery of food and winter essentials to those in real need, partnering with Wise Group and its new Here to Help U service so it knows where to target the support.

Wise Group’s Here to Help U project aims to meet the surge in demand for social services caused by the COVID-19 crisis. A large commercial kitchen at Claudelands Event Centre has so far produced more than 24,000 meals and 2500 food parcels, distributed to those in need across the region by an ever-growing group of community providers.

At the same time, Wise Group’s Houchen Hub, supported by Momentum Waikato, has also been producing frozen meals and care packages for vulnerable families across the Waikato. The team has distributed 590 food parcels, 1635 frozen meals and 283 hygiene packs since the start of the crisis.

The Mighty Waikato Cookbook can be bought for a donation and downloaded at Donations are pay what you can, from as little as $5 to as much as you feel you can give. An idea could be to pay the price of a favourite meal out which you have been unable to have since lockdown began or consider how much it costs to feed a family for one day.

Follow the journey on Instagram @mightywaikatocookbook

Job-matching website for Waikato is a free job-matching website to match employers and job-seekers across the Waikato region.

Waikato Nxtstep was created by the Cambridge Business Chamber, in collaboration with Te Waka.

Creators say  because the site's sole focus is our local region, they hope it will help find solutions fast for Waikato families, neighbours and friends and help us all pull together to keep our local economy going.

To access the site