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Far North businesses have plans to attract people during Brynderwyns closure

Author
Mike Dinsdale,
Publish Date
Mon, 19 Feb 2024, 2:50PM
The closure of SH1 over the Brynderwyns for nine weeks this month will hit businesses, but they want everybody to know - ‘The Far North is open for business’’.
The closure of SH1 over the Brynderwyns for nine weeks this month will hit businesses, but they want everybody to know - ‘The Far North is open for business’’.

Far North businesses have plans to attract people during Brynderwyns closure

Author
Mike Dinsdale,
Publish Date
Mon, 19 Feb 2024, 2:50PM

The six-week closure of the highway over the Brynderwyns, south of Whangārei, could have a major impact on the Far North, but business leaders want everybody to know the region is still open for business and has much to offer.

Northlanders are pulling out all the stops to let visitors know the north will be open, even if State Highway 1 is not.

Some Te Tai Tokerau accommodation businesses have noticed a drop in bookings from February 26, when SH1 closes at the Brynderwyn Hills.

But Northlanders united in letting people know they’re still open and active.

‘’The upcoming road closure . . . is poised to have a significant impact on the local businesses in Kaitāia and the wider Northland region. The closure, managed by NZTA Waka Kotahi, will briefly reopen for Easter Weekend before closing again until the works are complete,’’ Kaitāia Business Association chairman Josh Kirby said.

‘’Local businesses are anticipating disruptions to their normal operations due to decreased accessibility for both visitors and locals. The work being carried out poses challenges for transportation and logistics, potentially affecting supply chains and causing delays in the movement of goods and services.’’

Both alternative routes past the Brynderwyns - the Waipu-Mangawhai route and the Oakleigh-Paparoa Highway - were very scenic with plenty of great places to stop on the way, Kirby said, and he encouraged people from outside the region to still give the routes a go during the closure.

‘’They are both very scenic alternatives and don’t add too much more time to the trip, Or they could head further north on SH12 and get to see the wonderful Waipoua Forest and the magnificent Tane Mahuta, then get the car ferry from Rawene to Kohukohu then take the wonderful back route through Broadwood, Herekino and Ahipara. They will love it.’’

Kaitāia Business Association chairman Josh Kirby is encouraging people to experience the Far North during the SH1 Brynderwyns closure.
Kaitāia Business Association chairman Josh Kirby is encouraging people to experience the Far North during the SH1 Brynderwyns closure.

He said that in response to the challenge Northland Inc is collaborating with marketing partners to launch a campaign aimed at informing domestic visitors that Northland remains open for business during the works. The two scenic routes are being highlighted to encourage tourists to explore the region, mitigating some of the economic impacts.

Despite these efforts to mitigate the effects of the works, businesses are bracing for a period of reduced traffic and potentially decreased revenue.

‘’As businesses adapt to these temporary challenges, they will need to explore innovative strategies and solutions to maintain their operations and customer relationships, emphasising the importance of community support during this challenging period.”

Kirby said the messages he wanted to get out were simple.

‘’The works there are definitely needed and they are happening regardless, so we need to focus on the things that we can control. That’s our message, and that the Far North, and the whole of Northland, are open for business, and the Far North has so many great things to offer.

‘’And that’s what we want our community to do too: Tell their friends, their whānau, everybody, that we are here and ready - encourage people to spend locally and encourage people to visit the region and enjoy all that we have to offer.’’

Kirby said as well as the numerous beautiful beaches - many with outstanding surf - marvellous scenery and teriffic people, there were several great Far North events people could come to during the closure.

‘’We’ve got the Mangonui Waterfront Festival (March 2) and the Ninety Mile Snapper Bonanza (March 12-16) that will attract a lot of people and provide plenty of entertainment. We’ve also got Barrier Air running 20 flights a week into Kaitāia so people can still get here.

‘’What people need to realise is that it’s just so beautiful in the Far North and it’s a fantastic place to visit.’’

The Duke of Marlborough co-owner Riki Kinnaird said while his hotel is buoyed by weddings and other functions, other businesses around the Bay of Islands are struggling.

‘’I’m hearing on the ground, from March onwards, other people’s bookings are low . . . March onwards is looking really light when it should be full.’’

Kinnaird believed the high cost of living is having an impact, along with the Brynderwyn closure - with many people mistakenly believing the highway is already closed.

The closure shouldn’t have a major impact on travellers, with some of the detour time being made up with savings on the new Puhoi-to-Warkworth motorway, he said.

‘’What we have isn’t an infrastructure problem, it’s a communication problem. If you’re that stressed that the timing will make a difference to you, then you really need to come on holiday.’’

Kinnaird is offering any visitor stressed out by the Brynderwyns closure a free McLeods beer if they stay at the Duke, as well as the chance to enjoy the great weather typically enjoyed by Northlanders at this time of year.

‘’Our message is: We’re open, it’s wonderful weather, the golf is great, the dolphins are jumping around, it’s the same distance and time to get here as it was a year ago - come and enjoy it.’’

Northland Inc is spreading a similar message in a multi-channel marketing campaign, running alongside NZTA Waka Kotahi’s journey messages.

The “It’s Northland Time” campaign kicked off with social media and Google advertising on February 14, encouraging visitors to take the scenic route and explore the region’s beauty at their own pace.

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