Letter to Aucklanders
October 4 2021 by Jim Boult, Mayor
Letter to Aucklanders
I thought I would share with you an open letter I sent to Aucklanders last week. I wanted to let them know that we appreciate both that they’ve borne the brunt of heavy Level 3 and 4 restrictions, and that we are right beside them in experiencing tough times – because they’re not here. The Auckland lockdown has unfortunately served as yet another reminder of the importance of our Kiwi visitors. We all have friends, family and colleagues in the North that have been doing it especially tough and I know that when the time comes, and it’s safe to travel everyone here will welcome them back with great service, a warm welcome and a big thanks for coming.
Mayor Jim Boult
I’ve just heard your news of 45 new cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19. It’s pretty obvious that you are going through a tough time at present and I thought some words from the South might help and let you know we’re all thinking of you.
Firstly, while in this part of the world we’re wondering why we’re still in Level 2 (when we haven’t had a case in the South Island since May 2020) we do feel deeply for our friends, whānau and colleagues in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and we’re grateful for the hard yards you’ve done for the safety of the rest of us and for each other. With close family in your city, I am frequently kept up to date with the challenges and stresses of living in Level 3 and while it’s an improvement on Level 4, it is as they say, in reality “Level 4 – with takeaways”. So, from the Queenstown Lakes District, our very best wishes, our heartfelt thanks and we certainly hope that you will soon join us and the rest of Aotearoa in at least Level 2 in the short term.
I thought it might be nice to let you know just how important you are to the rest of the country. Quite a long time ago, I figured out that ‘JAFA’ actually means ‘Just Another Fabulous Aucklander’. We love to visit the City of Sails and we’re missing the maanakitanga always extended when we come up for work or play. In our beautiful district, Aucklanders account for greater than 50% of our kiwi visitors so while we feel your lockdown pain, we’re right beside you in also feeling the pain of not having you join us. You are, enormously important to us and our wineries and restaurateurs, our boat drivers and chopper pilots, our entertainers and nature guides and all of our warm and friendly locals look forward to welcoming you back as soon as you are able, and it’s safe for you to travel. Spring is looking great on our mountains, and our bars and cafes and out on our tracks and trails where chances to relax and rejuvenate after a pretty tough time are just waiting for your arrival.
We know we’ll eventually get to a point - when vaccination levels permit, that the international visitors return down under. Right now though, we’re just looking forward to being reunited when our mates from the north can join us. If you can, (and I know many won’t be able to for a while), maybe breathing in some fresh southern air on a fine and frosty morning or as Minister Hipkins put it, “spreading” your legs on a climb up one of our peaks might be just the antidote for life after lockdown. Whether it’s a yoga class or an exhilarating jet boat experience, being quite frank, the ability of many businesses from Wānaka to Glenorchy, to keep providing world class service and excitement, is dependent on having you join us. We’ve always appreciated that you love to visit us for your holidays or weekends away, so as fellow Kiwis, to the citizens of a wonderful city that many of us enjoy visiting too, please come back and see us as soon as you’re able. The wine is chilling, the beds are made up and we can’t wait to share it all with you.
Kia kaha. Kia manawanui. Kia noho haumaru.
Jim Boult ONZM