Aotea's Community Invovlement

I will tell you the story about a customer from Chile, he and his family to the store (his son is a New Zealand resident). At that time he was with on his late 60s, we had such a good time talking in Spanish about his visit to New Zealand (they even bought Kapeka accesories) after 30 minuntes they left really happy with their purchasing.

A week later I was heading to my football game after work in Newmarket. I saw a man who was slighty lost, asking people for help and he looked familiar to me. When I moved closer I noticed he was the person that came to the store the previous week. I asked him if he was alright. He said he decided to explore the city on his bicycle (alone) but he became lost, did not have any mobile battery left and he could not speak English to ask for help. He had been lost for over 4 hours. I guided him to his son's house and helped him with some water. I ended up being late for my game but with a happy feeling that I did the right thing.

They came back to the store to thank me for helping him (they even brought me some gifts) and from time to time the son comes to the store to say hi and buy some little stuff from us.

While working in Queesntown a few years ago, I experienced a customer trying to come into store with a wheel chair. Not thinking, I went straight across to assist her and gave her a guided tour of out store. While walking with her I asked her what and who she was shopping for? As well as having a disability she also had a speech impediment that made it difficult to understand, but we got there in the end. The lady was quite well dressed and seemed happy to be talking with me. She told me she was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) at an early age, and her son and daughter were both at home in the US. She said she wanted to buy a gift for them to take home. I asked was there anything in mind or are you looking for ideas? I found out the lady’s name was; Fiona, it was then I introduced myself to her. Fiona was very specific what she was looking for, "I want knitwear made in New Zealand" she said. So I went into questions asking all about her requirements. I found a Kepeka Merinosilk cardigan for her daughter but I was stuck for her son. I then asked her; would you like me to try on a few ideas that may suit him? She smiled and said yes please. I tried about 6 styles and found one she really liked, that’s it done, but one problem we didn't have his size in our store stock. I checked the compauter system and found we had one in Dundein but she was returning home the following day. I told her about shipping, if she would like to pay now I could send them both home. She agreed to this and the deal was done. I proceeded to help her out of the store, she turned and said; "thank you Kevin for all your help and kindness". I responeded with; "you're very welcome and have a safe journey home." That was it! Next customer please!

After a period of time an email came in from her and thanking me for the service I provided to her at that time.

A story I will always remember!

I am oringinaly from the UK. For the past few years I have tried ways to help a few people who really need help, also doing a little for the Salvation Army. Over the past few years I have realised some people need a little help, may it be just a friendly ear and a little advice.

Maybe a good cooked meal through the cold winter months, or even to find some warm clothes for them.

The Salvation Army does a lot to help many people, I have tried to donate many different items to this wonderful charity. At the same time when times were lucrative, I bought many small items from their charity store with a receipt for merchandising in our store.

Just recently I tried to help some elderly people, one example of this; a few elderly people who need a good cooked meal. I will cook up a nice heart warming stew in my pressure cooker and deliver it along with an afternoon of company and a friendly chat together.

There are many people in the community who do need help and a little kindness. If we all tried to understand others in need it would make life a little easier.

One more example; understanding homeless people! They don’t all want to be in that position, one youngish guy who was sitting in a doorway spoke to me saying; would I buy a little food for his small dog?

I said I would, and I did!

The guy never asked for anything else but just fed his dog. I could see the guy was cold! I went down to our other Queenstown store and bought a reversible coat for him to wear.

He said a big thank you for the help for me.

I don’t feel this is something special trying to help others, but some people are in need!!!!

This happened when I was working in an oler Queenstown store. I sold a pair of UGG boots to a lady staying in Hilton, just when I was closing the store about 11pm, the phone rang and this lady told me she bought the wrong size and asked me how we should swap the sizes, but due to her flight leaving early in the next morning and in order to save her the trouble of travelling back and forth to the hotel, I decided to bring the right size with me and see her in hotel instead. She thanked me profusely and was very grateful for going out of my way to help her.

We always feel proud and happy to receive customers' thanks.

I live in Tekapo. There was a post on the community board about 'removing wilding pines in MacKenzie Basin'. In Tekapo it is often extremly windy for days at a time resutling in pine seeds spreading everywhere. The post encouraged people living in Tekapo to help with removing the pine trees. I agreed! The agreed day was sunny with the chilly wind. Everyone arrived on time, we were given a safety briefing and a quick overview of the process. We were each give a bottle of weed spray, a small saw and a pair of gloves. It was fun work and you can see how many you had completed. It was such an amazing experience. After our work we had a really nice BBQ for everyone. It was a great opportunity to meet other Tekapo residents and make new friends in my local community. Screen reader support enabled. I live in Tekapo. There was a post on the community board about 'removing wilding pines in MacKenzie Basin'. In Tekapo it is often extremly windy for days at a time resutling in pine seeds spreading everywhere. The post encouraged people living in Tekapo to help with removing the pine trees. I agreed! The agreed day was sunny with the chilly wind. Everyone arrived on time, we were given a safety briefing and a quick overview of the process. We were each give a bottle of weed spray, a small saw and a pair of gloves. It was fun work and you can see how many you had completed. It was such an amazing experience. After our work we had a really nice BBQ for everyone. It was a great opportunity to meet other Tekapo residents and make new friends in my local community. Turn on screen reader support.

A Japanese customer (aged about 60) wanted to have a meal nearby, however, he had no idea where to go and could only speak limited English. We gave him some suggestions and once he decided, we helped him to call the restaurant to make the booking. After he finished his meal, he came back to us to thanks us. He wanted a taxi to go back to the hotel, however, the taxi was not allowed to enter the Cashel Street Mall. As it was getting dark and we walked him to the taxi stand and waited for the taxi with him. He really appreciated what we had done for him and kept saying people in New Zealand are friendly and kind.

Tekapo only has one school, Lake Tekapo Primary School. There is one principal and two teachers; teaching around thirty students. They split all students into two classes: Years 1-3 and Years 4-6. It is a great school and an important part of our local Tekapo community. In 2014, Aotea Gifts worked with the school to give students an off-site course, allwoing students to come into the store to about Maori Culture and New Zealand made products. In 2016 and 2019, Aotea Gifts also sponsored the Tekapo Kindergarten playground fundraiser to help the local community children.

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