When the world went spiraling into uncertainty, there were some Rotorua businesses who took the opportunity to take stock and reset. These businesses were recognised and celebrated at the 2020 Westpac Rotorua Business Awards, with Waimangu Volcanic Valley taking out the “Build Back Better” award.
The awards, delivered by Rotorua Business Chamber, celebrate innovation and creativity in the business sector. This year’s award categories were reimagined to reflect the current environment, recognising and celebrating Rotorua's resilience through its nine categories.
“COVID-19 and the impending lockdown was a 2020 curveball no one expected,” says Waimangu Volcanic Valley general manager, David Blackmore.
“I’m sure it’s a period in time that’s a blur for many, especially businesses as they knuckled down to figure out how to adjust to a new “normal”.
“In Rotorua, the tourism and hospitality industries were affected the most and we naturally became concerned about the impact the pandemic would have on our business, but more importantly the people that have made it what it is today. We knew then that we had to do everything we could to weather the storm coming.”
The team at Waimangu Volcanic Valley used the time to conceive and develop ideas like the new art trail opening 9 November. They also worked closely with Tourism New Zealand to create #PLAYNZ which invites travellers to “virtually play” in locations and experiences throughout the country.
“We also worked alongside our community to develop services and products that fit their needs, for example, a convenience store and ready-made meals to order,” says Mr Blackmore. And their support has been invaluable in our pivot to build back better.
“Because of the hard work from our team, we now have an attraction that appeals as much to our domestic and local manuhiri (visitors) as it does to our international markets.
“And thanks to the overwhelming national message to support local, many have been exploring what’s in their own backyard and I think people have been surprised at what they’ve found.”
The “Build Back Better” award recognises and celebrates innovation, self-belief, farsightedness and the ability to pivot amongst other qualities.