A View from Industry Operators: Wildwire Wanaka, Cloudy Bay Vineyards and Kaikoura Kayaks

Wildwire Wanaka - Laurel & Mark Morrison

At Wildwire we feel that we are very fortunate to be, generally, a seasonal business. It has certainly been a very difficult time for all and a massive shock from our relatively comfortable status-quo. Although we did lose a couple of months of trading, on the whole COVID-19 couldn't have come at a better time, if it had to come at all. The future is extremely uncertain, but, bearing this in mind we are focusing on the opportunities that should arise from the situation. There are always opportunities and it is up to the individual to identify those. 

We see that a slow roll back of the states of Lockdown as the perfect opportunity to firstly be able to offer our product to a local market at a price that will work for them. Then as the Lockdown diminishes we can widen the demand for our product regionally and then nationally. We can keep the pricing low and be extremely grateful for the business that we can generate from our supporters in our community and our country. Then when international visitors finally arrive again we will, hopefully, have 4.5 million advocates who drive these tourists to Wildwire. 

"The Ladder to success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity" - Ayn Rand

Just last week (April 7) we have released our "Koha Climb after Covid". This campaign asks our local community to express their interest in joining us once Level 2 restrictions kick in and to pay us just what they can afford. It has been so humbling and wonderful to receive some of the feedback from our community as this offer has been taken up with joy and gusto

So, bring on Level 2 and let's look forward to meeting this challenge head on and supporting each other through a difficult time.

Cloudy Bay Vineyards - Nicky Hewett

"These are extraordinary times and our hearts go out to all those in the tourism and hospitality industries, for whom the situation is beyond challenging. I think we at Cloudy Bay were all shocked by the speed with which a very successful summer season suddenly led to the closure of both of our Cellar Door operations (Marlborough and Central Otago), including the Jack’s Raw Bar summer restaurants. Just like that, it was over.


Throughout this time, our primary focus has been on ensuring the health and wellbeing of our team. Staff who cannot work from home have been redeployed – our Raw Bar chefs for example are now cooking vintage meals for our harvest team. We have also reinforced opportunities for connection to our whole staff, with meditation and pilates classes via Zoom, EAP support and counselling, regular newsletters, fun quizzes and training.


As a hospitality team, we seem to be extremely busy, adapting ourselves to a new world of virtual meetings (even our Qualmark evaluation was held via Zoom this year). Our team is using this unexpected down-time to work on projects and improvements, to upskill ourselves, to complete those tasks that we never have time to do, to connect with our wider networks, and to ensure that we are ready and well-positioned for whatever the future may bring. 

This is a time when we will all learn how to adapt, how to be creative and think outside the box. But, above all, this is a time for us to value our human connections. As one operator said to me recently ‘how we behave through this is how we will be remembered’, so I hope we can remain kind and look after one another."



Kaikōura Kayaks - Kim & Matt Foy

"Surreal, shock, crazy, and uncertain times"

Our heads were spinning, trying to stay positive but if I am totally honest some days it was extremely hard going. 

Luckily, working on projects and brainstorming with our team kept us focussed and occupied. Developing a new website and booking engine for the coming season was exciting and great for the mindset.

“Roll with the punches” I heard my husband (Matt) say so many times and that is what we did. We prepared ourselves to adapt, embrace, connect, think outside the square, and explore opportunities. Our family does not sit back and wait for things to happen.

Utilizing the down time to connect with our fellow “Kiwi’s by campaigning domestically became our top priority and thankfully we could open our doors immediately at level 2.

We felt humbled that our key staff supported us and wanted to tackle the unknown times together and continue to live in the region that they call home.

Although different and this time globally, it is not the first time Kaikо̄ura’s tourism suddenly came to a halt. We know how to fight back, stay strong and come together as a community, to work together marketing Kaikoura as a destination. Even though a new approach would be required, they say change is good and keeps you living.

Our business will continue to deliver a high standard of service, which we have gained recognition from over 20 years of operating. We have passionate staff, an excellent product that sits well in the domestic marketplace, affordable and caters well for the Kiwi desire to explore and participate.

The support we have received across the board from friends, family, business associates, paddlers and fellow operators so far is amazing and heart-warming with many Kiwis ticking kayaking off their bucket list.

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