Never forget where you came from, and remember your roots.

These past weeks in level 4 lockdown have been an experience that will stay with us forever. For many it will have been a time to remember where they’ve come from and what’s shaped them into who they are today.

The same can be said for the economics of our Region. It’s important to remember what our economy has been built on and what has shaped our Region to what it is today.

As we navigate our way forward from our time in lockdown, we know it is business that will lead our recovery, and our West Coast people will make that happen.

We know our West Coast economy relies on many different business sectors and industries. And we know one business sector or industry supports the other.

We know different sectors have their ups and downs, and our Region has experienced this many times. Our businesses can be affected if linked to the export market, dictated by commodity prices, a natural disaster or weather event interruption, or decline in visitor numbers.

But what we haven’t experienced before is the majority of our businesses grinding to a halt due to a global pandemic. Thankfully, we’re on the move again. But the recovery will be slow.

Yet we will adapt as we navigate our way forward. We’re doing this already by the way we shop for clothes, food, beverages, and many other household goods. Through quick action, the Region has come together and we now have many businesses set-up on-line for trading so we can shop or use their service. Let’s remember to shop locally and support our Coast businesses - many of them are owner operators, and employers.

And it’s the simple things in life that through lockdown we’ve realised are so important - we need food to eat, fuel to keep us warm, technology to keep us connected or educated. And we need the support of each other.

We know we need our Coast industries and primary producers, along with a diverse business community of all shapes and sizes. We also know we need reliable and safe transport linkages including roading, rail, and port infrastructure to support all business sectors, and our people.

Our PM talks about Team NZ – let’s think Team West Coast. We need to play to our strengths. Our biggest strengths are our people, and our place. We respect our environment that we live, work and play in. We’ve proven we can work with and produce from our land and shores, whilst still being good custodians. And we look after each other, we have community spirit in our DNA.

Moving forward as a Region, remembering where we’ve come from holds us in good stead to put our best foot forward into the future.