Businesses cash in as gatherers move out
Golden Bay and Motueka businesses, especially food outlets, are enjoying the flow-on benefits of the Gathering now the four-day dance and music festival is over.
An estimated 6000 revellers left the Upper Takaka site, and Golden Bay, on Tuesday while others made their way over Takaka Hill yesterday. However, Takaka food retailers are reporting heavy traffic from those of the 13,000 gatherers who have chosen to stay on.
Crowther Reynish, from Reynish's Supervalue Plus, said a lot of the Gathering people were in the store yesterday, and he expected today would be busy with them as well. He was kept busy over the duration of the Gathering itself with stallholders coming down the valley to buy goods.
Jo Falconer, from the Dangerous Kitchen Cafe, said they were busy with Gathering people and she expected it to stay that way right through the weekend, as gatherers stayed around for the Hinterland dance party on Saturday and some big-name bands at the River Inn.
At Collingwood both the Gathering and Pakawau's Vision dance and music festival have had spinoffs for local business. Colleen Thorne, from the Collingwood General Store, said without both events "we would not have been so busy for sure".
Collingwood Cafe owner Stuart Kerr said they had double the trade between Christmas Day and New Year's Day that they had last year. Mr Kerr said some of the Gathering people had come out to Collingwood to have a look around and the Vision people passed through.
But there were other factors as well.
"The not-so-good weather meant fewer barbecues, which brought them here, and there are more overseas visitors around as well."
A popular camping spot in Takaka, at Waitapu Bridge, was packed this morning with tents, while staff at the nearby River Inn said their accommodation was "overflowing". Four bands which played at the Gathering are playing at the River Inn tonight.
Our Town Motueka chairperson Clare Hynd said the event seemed to have been more organised this year, which meant people may not have spent as much on their way through town. However, many retailers, including supermarkets and cafes, would have experienced positive spinoffs from the Gathering, she said.
The Gathering was also positive because it was a form of advertising for the region, she said. "Those people may not have known about the area and the spinoff comes when they come back, even if it is in five years time," she said.
Yesterday had been the busiest day for retailers, as gatherers flocked through town on their way home, she said. She hoped to talk to event organiser Murray Kingi about the possibility that it may move out of the region.
Fearons Bush Camp and Motel owner Michael Miles said about 80 to 100 people had come through from the Gathering since Monday, with yesterday being the busiest day. The flow of people was similar to other years, despite the dance party being extended. Most would be out by today, he said.
Sadie Jenkin of Hot Mama's cafe in Motueka said the flow of people coming in after the Gathering was "more spread out" than other years due to it being longer. Staff at the cafe had been run off their feet, making hundreds of meals for the hungry gatherers.
People going to the Gathering appeared to be "more city-type people" this year than other years, she said.