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A warm West Auckland welcome to 2015


Happy New Year and welcome to 2015. Hopefully you’ve all had a good, safe and happy break during a summer that came late but then came in spectacular form.

This time last year I predicted that with The Trusts both comprehensively modernised and trimmed to a fine edge of efficiency, you could look forward to even better services and much better “Giving Back” from us than we have been able to for some time. A year later it’s fantastic to say that all of that has come true.

The biggest single “buzz’ was providing every West Auckland household with a high quality photo-electric smoke alarm. As you know by now, these could be obtained by bringing a voucher into our support office or your nearest West Liquor or Village Wine & Spirits store and exchange it for a smoke alarm.

It is truly great that so many of you have taken advantage of this give back. To those of you who haven’t, please do. Soon. It costs nothing and every smoke alarm is a potential lifesaver. More than 30 people a year die in New Zealand house fires and very often because it’s because they didn’t have a smoke alarm installed.

Remember the life you save will be yours or that of your loved one or flatmates. We’ve heard many stories over the years of how smoke alarms have saved lives and homes (most people’s largest investment) across West Auckland.

There will be more city-wide giving back in the future. Each one will improve the quality of life or safety of West Aucklanders. Meanwhile, we continue with our sponsorship programme that sees us giving back large and small to some 200 causes or local groups each year.

We have continued to recruit exceptional people and train the ones we have, to be as good as they can be. The results speak for themselves right through our retail, hospitality and management operations. I am very, very, proud to lead this team and proud that thousands of people have put their name seeking a career with us because they’ve heard that we truly are an excellent employer and they want to be part of our operation.

Our retail store refurbishment programme has been a great success. We have seen the results in more people shopping with us and especially, more women enjoying the experience of shopping with us. This has started to fulfil our aim of obtaining growth more by attracting more customers than by selling more to existing patrons (we are never willing to get into loss leading to gain custom). To us that is not trading liquor responsibly.

Last year we unveiled a concept plan for a new mix of modern, high quality, bars and restaurants to be developed from now on. Each premises will be different from the others so that there’s a fantastic range of choice overall, both in presentation, comfort and decor and in the style of food and beverages on offer. Each will be tailored to meet the preferences of the community it serves. In that regard we are on the verge of appointing new multi-venue managers to lead our hospitality strategy and operations going forward. We will be describing this programme in more detail in future issues. As with every initiative in recent years we’re excited about transformation in hospitality.

More exciting times ahead.

Simon Wickham