Kaikōura businesses struggle to stay open

The struggle is real in Kaikōura, a region largely dependent on tourism. The impact of last month’s 7.8 earthquake is now bearing down on local businesses.

Maori Tours, a cultural tourism venture that’s operated for 15 years, has lost all its clients for the summer season.

Owner-operator Maurice Manawatu who’s been in the tourism industry for 28 years told Native Affairs reporter Oriini Kaipara today his business has all but ceased.

“We’re done,” he said. “We’re so small we can’t sustain that big a loss for that period of time.”

Maurice says it will take at least a year or two for things to recover, but he’s not sure if he has the energy to start over. “At this period in time, the energy’s not there.”

Tiki’s Takeaways owner Algie Brown describes the feeling as “heart sinking”.

On what should be their busiest time of year, they only had one customer per hour today.

“We’ve been here 10 years and it will be the slowest we’ve ever been, but you know it’s to be expected,” he said.

Algie employs six staff, himself included, and is hopeful things will pick up once the roads reopen.

“It was to be expected that some people were going to go but I just hope we’re not amongst that. It all depends if we can pay our bills, pay our staff we’ll be alright.”

Local clothing store Global Culture ended its business today after 12 years. Owners Jon and Bron said they had no other choice to close otherwise they would be bankrupt.

“It was a hard decision, but easy because it was a bit of a no-brainer really for us,” Bron said.