Looking back at the beginning of the year, we were wide-eyed, bushy tailed and full of the positive anticipation that only a new year can bring. We really didn’t know what we were in store for. As many have said, 2020 has been the most extraordinary year of our lives, for most of us.
I remember visiting my doctor in February for a general check up, and I recall her stating emphatically that my holiday plans to visit family in Brazil in June would not be going ahead – to be honest, at that moment I thought she was bonkers. How little did I know. Although back in February was when we first started to see signs that things weren’t quite running as normal in Newmarket. Lockdown finally hit us, and was for most of us a surreal experience.
I will never forget hearing the complete silence of the city when walking the dog in the morning, and the sweet sound of bird song along Symonds Street. Lockdown 1.0 seemed to be all about exercising madly at home, baking things that you’d never normally even think about baking, watching Tiger King on Netflix, and our introduction to Zoom calls. We had many, many Zoom meetings in an attempt to spread the word and connect businesses with information. It was an intense time and dire for business owners.
After the first lockdown ended, hearing the sound of the economy cranking back up (traffic, sirens, people etc.) was almost as joyful as the tweets of birds. During this time we saw some startling trends emerge in terms of sales in Newmarket driven by peoples’ pent up desire to go shopping and do normal things. It’s fair to say there was a consumer “frenzy” and people spent up large. We’ve all heard stories of record sales of some items – including cars.
Lockdown 2.0 wasn’t surreal, it was just more of a struggle mentally. We’d all been there before and gave a collective sigh. Our businesses gulped at the thought of what was ahead – as we knew what to expect. After the second lockdown we didn’t see the same surge in spend, but week after week things have been getting back to normal. Although, our banks have been particularly busy writing up mortgage documents as many people seem to have decided to spend money on a reno or to buy a new property – possibly partly fuelled by the number of expats returning home.
And now, as we approach the end of the year, it’s important to be grateful for the normality by which we are lucky enough to live in New Zealand. We have all been watching the US elections and ensuing theatrics, and have to be thankful that our political spectrum is so functional. Whatever your political colours are, we have managed to get through 2020 comparatively unscathed. The impacts on the economy and job losses, have been terrible – especially for those directly affected. But we will rebuild, and re-emerge a stronger, and wiser country. NZ has been knocked back many times in the past, and each time we have muscled in and climbed back up. We are a country rich with ingenuity, entrepreneurialism, hard work and talent. Things may have fundamentally changed, and the way we used to live, may not be back for some time to come. Overseas holidays or going on an OE, for example, will be things of the past for a while, but aren’t we lucky that worst case scenario, we get to travel around this magic little country!
On behalf of the Newmarket team, Board, and all of our businesses, we sincerely thank you once again for your continued support of the precinct this year. We know you have many choices for places to go to the gym, shop, eat and for entertainment etc, and we are very grateful whenever you choose to do those things in Newmarket.
Let’s enjoy the utter glory that this country offers over the summer period. Drive safely on the roads, keep up the COVID safety measures, and let’s hope for a more stable 2021.
Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and very happy Christmas.