While many New Zealanders worked from home where possible during alert level 4 COVID-19 restrictions, some needed to leave their bubble to ensure a small bit of essential normality took place for our households. A large group of essential workers were supermarket staff, who made sure our shelves were well supplied in the weeks that passed while we stayed home. Dame Patsy met with some of these workers on a visit to New World Thorndon on the 27th of May.
Owner and store manager respectively are brothers Reece and Ash Drake, who recently took over the business from their father Brian. Supermarkets have always been a part of their lives, right from when they were small kids running around the family 4 Square. As with many businesses, they had to adapt from their business as usual to the ever-changing alert level restrictions to ensure their staff and shoppers remained safe. While visiting, Dame Patsy met staff from all areas of the supermarket and heard what it was like working in a customer-facing role during the lockdown period, and heard how they were able to hire more staff to help with such a busy time.