Generosity and goodwill on a giant scale

2020 was certainly a tough year; one that none of us will forget and we will all feel the impact of for years to come.

As we start 2021, there’s hope that Hawke’s Bay – which hasn’t been hit as hard as other provinces – will fare better.

We’re very fortunate that our economy doesn’t rely on just one sector – think Queenstown and tourism. We may be regarded as an economy that relies on the primary sector but we’re well diversified with agriculture, horticulture and viticulture as well as aquaculture.

We’re also a desirable lifestyle location and as more Kiwis return home to New Zealand, demand on housing and infrastructure is going to increase, leading to major build programmes. Unfortunately,

though, it’s also driving house prices up to unprecedented levels.

The profile of New Zealand as a safe place to live has also received a major boost from the way that we have managed the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, there are many people who are struggling to make ends meet. Buying or renting a house is becoming incredibly difficult and the cost of necessities – food and electricity – as well as the lure of consumerism products is placing immense pressure on many families to get by.

Locally, you only have to drive past Nourished for Nil in Hastings early afternoon to see the ever-growing queue of people collecting much-needed food parcels.

It’s why we must congratulate many of our local businesses and voluntary organisations for getting behind a range of amazing local causes. Their contribution and the need of giving is only going to increase.

One example of generosity and goodwill is the annual Craggy Range Christmas event, whereby the winery and other local businesses such as Lowe Corporation, Furnware and Advanced Plumbing, along with the police and New Zealand Fire Service’s paid and volunteer members, came together to pack over 4,500 Santa sacks full of books, sports equipment and sleeping bags.

The amazing vision of the Peabody family and the support of local businesses created a memorable festive buzz demonstrating aroha that runs throughout our community.

The Santa sacks not only put smiles on the faces of children across Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa but will have also provided a sigh of relief for many parents, who would otherwise have been sacrificing hard-earned wages or government financial support to put something under the tree.

The sad reality is that while we packed 4,500 Santa sacks in 2020, many more will be needed by the end of 2021. As we move through 2021, consider how you support our community. It doesn’t need to be financially but rather by volunteering your time, experience and skills to make a positive contribution.