At Bay of Plenty Business News we constantly have an ear to the ground to discover what topics are trending at any point in the year. In 2021 the dial has continued to shift constantly – the mood of business has changed regularly since January as businesses have fought to find new ways to not only survive, but to thrive. In sitting down to review the year, I realised the easiest way to summarise the trends and chart the local business communities changing fortunes, was to look through each of our monthly editions one more time, rather than relying on memory.
My verdict: “What a year it has been!”
The somewhat prophetic cover headline of our January issue really said it all: ‘Recovery Stronger than expected – but uncertainties remain’ – and remain they have. Almost 12 months on and some questions still remain unanswerable: Can I buy a house? Will Covid chaos be gone soon?
Can I go overseas? Although there were certainly positive signals in the January issue, like Carrus’ push into the Papamoa Junction development and stories on domestic tourism growth and positive small business employment signals.
One call that was a shot in the arm in terms of positive news in February was the announcement of the ground-breaking Luxridge luxury apartment complex in central Tauranga. When uncertainty seemed to be so pervasive throughout the community at the time, it was especially encouraging to hear Rob Gartshore of the Gartshore Group state “Luxridge has got it right”. We recently updated progress on the development in our November issue.
One theme that has been a constant this year is building development. Our March issue epitomised this with a feature headline ‘Development Boom Hits Bay of Plenty’.
But it wasn’t all about development – we reported on improved Tauranga Port profits, Kiwifruit industry growth and Tauriko investment opportunities ‘going fast’ – and it seemed like a good time to launch our Luxury and Lifestyle column I thought!
While much of our editorial content has focused on Tauranga during 2021, it was wonderful to see Scion’s revolutionary Rotorua headquarters, Te Whare Nui O Tuteata, lead our coverage in the April issue. It was certainly a significant event that saw the PM and several MP’s join us at the opening that month
Tauranga’s Marine Precinct dominated our May issue as we looked at what our region offers in the way of superyacht facilities.
It was also a growth time for BOP Business News as we saw the introduction of our monthly BOP Personality Profile (that month featuring BOP Regional Council’s Harbourmaster and Marine Manager Jon Jon Peters – a good yarn!).
We also introduced NewsBriefs as a new design feature – one that has become a popular feature with readers.
Tech in the Bay, our June liftout, broke new ground as we gave readers an in-depth look at the Bay’s vibrant tech-sector. Feedback indicated some of our readers were surprised by the extent of tech innovation in our region and appreciated the insights we dished up.
Interestingly our feature writer Richard Rennie produced a pearler of a lead story on the meteoric rise of local tech innovators LawVu – the same LawVu that went on recently to scoop 2021’s Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year Award.
On a personal note, I’m keen to see the next ‘Tech in the Bay’ early in 2022.
And more positive news as PMG announced its planned acquisition of the Bethlehem Town Centre – who says nothing much has been happening this year?
Amongst other items of interest featuring in July, Brendon McCullum was introduced as guest speaker at the 2021 Tauranga gala dinner at Trustpower Arena, and we had a feature piece on Zespri’s record season – the news is not always bad!
The Leadership Issue. When the team suggested in July that we make the August issue the “Leadership Issue”, I was sceptical; “Everyone’s too busy and Covid has put a damper on that aspirational leadership pieces”, I thought.
I was wrong.
The invitation to prominent regional business leaders to share their thoughts on leadership was a real success and drew a lot of positive comment from our readers. To those leaders who participated and shared their experience, “thank you”.
When the management team at Baypark Arena mentioned to me that it was the Arena’s 10th Anniversary my ears pricked up – I’d never thought about how long it had been there.
To me Baypark was an institution that had been around forever, and the Arena seemed to cater to just about everyone in the Tauranga region. The editorial team thought it would be appropriate to cover the anniversary and it turned out to be a really interesting feature.
Of note, “In late August 2011 the venue was opened, on time and within budget” – now how often do you hear those words in relation to big projects nowadays?
Not only did we produce the Post-Lockdown 2.0 Business Navigation Guide in our October issue, but we joined in celebrating their 30th Anniversary with Farmer Auto Village.
No mean achievement for any business – congratulations again to the team at Farmer from the team at BOP Business News.
Thanks also to the businesspeople who participated in the Post-Lockdown 2.0 feature, where we drew on the expertise of those professionals to tell us their stories.
Warning: Urgent Action Required! The Bay Grapples With Urgent Housing Shortage.
That’s how the front page headline read last month. Were we overstating it? I don’t believe so. As our editor David Porter put it in his editorial in that issue when referring to the regions’s housing crisis,”I had not realised to quite what extent the region has been victim of its own success.”
David spoke to economist Tony Alexander, Priority One’s Nigel Tutt, Rotorua Chamber of Commerce’s Bryce Heard and Carrus Corp’s Scott Adams, as well as Eastern Bay’s Karl Gradon to get comment and background for the lead article. It was not intended to sensationalise, but simply to give some opinion and background on the housing issues confronting our region – we trust you found it interesting.
Before we talk about the 12th and final issue for the year, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our advertisers without whom we could not produce BOP Business News for the region’s business readers, and another huge thank you to our loyal readers.
The Thought Leaders issue. We’ve changed things up in this the December issue. We’ve said to our regular columnists, “take a break this month”, and we’ve focused the issue almost exclusively on what we’ve termed, thought leadership.
As 2021 comes to a close we continue to be confronted with Covid problems, logistics and shipping issues and a housing crisis. Bay of Plenty Business News has focused on industry sector leaders and their thoughts on their own industries, their businesses and where the Bay of Plenty business community is headed in 2022 in addition to reflecting on the year that’s been 2021. I hope you find their comments useful.
(Don’t worry, our regular columnists will be back in January)