In this feature we speak to two local businesses, ‘We Love Local’ and ‘Support NZ Local’ who aim to support homegrown companies such as Tommy’s Real Estate. We Love Local is in partnership with Tommy’s, the company source local Wellington products for the hampers we gift to our beloved clients. We Love Local is a brand that truly lives by its name. In fact the very nature of the business embodies the values of local community. Creating beautiful gift boxes that showcase the very best and most creative products, made by local artisan producers unique to the region, is at the heart of what We Love Local does. And the rapid increase of interest in their offerings shows many other people love to support local too. The business started out as two separate entities – Kapiti Goodies and Wellington brand We Love Local. Both were passionate about supporting and promoting their neighbouring local regions right from the outset, so when We Love Local became available, it only made sense for Kapiti Goodies owners Timo and Valerie Reitnauer to take it over and amalgamate the two. Now, the umbrella of We Love Local covers the whole Wellington region, allowing more people to experience the quality and range of products made locally. Timo says the couple love sharing the imagination and creativity that is flourishing in our local communities. They started Kapiti Goodies as an idea prompted by the purchase of an electric car. “We thought it would be great to use an EV for deliveries of products from local markets, to promote buying locally and environmental sustainability at the same time,” he says. “The Kapiti Goodies online store launched a few weeks before Christmas of 2018 and we immediately had orders coming through after promoting the site on social media, which showed how much people value the idea of buying locally.” “Local items also travel much smaller distances, using fewer resources, reducing carbon emissions and leading to a cleaner, healthier environments,” he said. Timo says the wealth of talent amongst producers in both the Kapiti and Wellington regions is phenomenal. “There are so many people with the imagination and skill to create products that are unique, innovative and of such high quality. We love that we get to share them and introduce people to them in our gift boxes,” he said. The boxes themselves are also part of the Reitnauer’s commitment to local sustainability. All are made here in New Zealand and have been made by The Shed Project – a Paraparaumu initiative to support and help improve the lives of differently-abled people. And now, with New Zealand still in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, local products are more important than ever. “COVID-19 made us even more passionate about local products. Buying local also means our money stays local and it’s good for the regional economy,” Timo says. “Local spending will encourage economic recovery for our local communities, and it also encourages and boosts entrepreneurship”. And with so much to love about our regions, people and products, it’s easy to see why supporting local producers through innovative initiatives and businesses such as We Love Local is more than just the right thing to do – it’s actually a real pleasure too. Support NZ Local is the modern-day noticeboard that connects locals to their community. We think we live in a perfect country and in many ways, we do. We’re so blessed to be Kiwis but as Kiwis, who are we? Who is your neighbour? Aside from your local cafe and shops, who do you buy from as part of your everyday routine, who are your locals? Little of us know. Support NZ Local was created to support Kiwi businesses much like Tommy’s which is a homegrown real estate company, born in Wellington 21 years ago. Tommy’s see being a local business as a point of difference and feel strongly that locals should stick together and support one another! The lockdown has also bought us closer together, closer than we’ve ever been and that really says something about how we’ve evolved as humans. But we’re not just any humans, we’re New Zealanders. We have broken down our own barriers in society – let’s stay together and keep them down. We stand for vulnerability, real talk & support.