‘So grateful for local support’

Tuesday August 18, 2020 Written by Published in Local
KiteSUP staff and supporters fielded the Kite-licious team in the annual corporate paddling event a week ago. 20081719 KiteSUP staff and supporters fielded the Kite-licious team in the annual corporate paddling event a week ago. 20081719

A Muri-based tourism operator had been contemplating losing staff or reducing operating hours as phase two wage subsidy nears an end on September 30.

Now, Brynn Acheson-Nooroa, the co-owner of KiteSUP, says she can now breathe a sigh of relief with the extension of the subsidy to the end of the year.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown has confirmed the wage subsidy will continue the same rates – $320 per week per full-time employee and half that for part-time employees. Company directors, too, are now entitled to the full subsidy.

Before the announcement, Acheson-Nooroa said they were planning on keeping as many staff as they could, and take out a loan to help cover wages. “We would not have closed down, but our hours of operation would change,” she said.

The announcement on the wage subsidy extension came as “a huge relief”, she said.

“We have a great team and I would have hated to disappoint them by cutting hours or even their position.”

KiteSUP employs five people, including owners Brynn and Ina Nooroa, and they are all on the wage subsidy.

The beach activity business has grown over the years, and they established a surf shop in Muri in 2012.

But Acheson-Nooroa said the Covid-19 pandemic had hit them hard, especially after a slow start to previous year.

“We will basically be starting over. January and February are very quiet months for us anyway and then to have Covid hit in March means that we didn’t have the reserves saved up that we would have later in the year.

“Thankfully we have most of the tools we need to start operating as soon as the borders open.

“We are essentially open to keep ourselves and our staff working to stay positive mentally and physically. 

“We have a few locals wanting to learn how to kiteboard and a few coming in to get some clothes. We are so grateful and appreciative of the local shoppers and support during this time.”

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