Tourism operations have been hit hard through the Covid lockdowns and restrictions, and none more so than Maori Cultural Centre Te Hana Te Ao Marama at Te Hana.
Chief executive officer Linda Clapham says the enterprise has been at the pointy end of the effects of Covid.
“The nature of the business where we looked after large numbers of people meant virtually 100 per cent of our business shut down, even the twilight markets. We had absolutely nothing,” she says.
The centre, which provides employment for Maori youth in the Te Hana area, had seen large numbers of people coming through the gates, including up to 240 children at a time on education programmes and bus loads of tourists from cruise ships.
“We reopened 10 times and had to shut down 10 times. The 20 to 30 part-time and full-time staff reduced down to three part-timers,” she says.
“It has been stressful and exhausting picking ourselves up after each one. We’re lucky to still be here at the end of it all.”
Taking on school lunch contracts from February was the first business they had been able to do from the site since restrictions began.
Clapham is pleased to now get government funding through the Auckland Unlimited Local Activation Fund. The fund is designed to get people out and about and engaged in their communities, and run courses.
“It is the start of rebuilding the business.”