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Two local businesses win a Toyota Highlander for a year

Local post COVID recovery gets a boost with the Toyota Small Business Driver - DeVille Cafe and R&R Kayaks win a Toyota Highlander for 12 months, and a portion of the Million Dollars of Advertising from the Mediaworks MediaFund.

Small Business Driver winners
Al Mapperley from Bowater Toyota, Claire Scott from MediaWorks with SBD winners, Mac and Geoff from DeVilles, and Lauretta & Rohan Haskell from R&R Kayaks with their children Monroe and Jett. 


Nelson's DeVille Cafe, and R & R Kayaks from Marahau, have been selected as two of the 100 small businesses around the country to receive the free use of a Toyota Highlander for 12 months.

The Small Business Driver programme was conceived by Toyota New Zealand, and partnered by MediaWorks, as a way to help small businesses keep moving after the sudden economic shock of COVID-19.

Applications from businesses who had received Government wage support and employed fewer than 20 people were received in June and assessed by an independent panel of judges.

Al Mapperley, Business Manager from Bowater Toyota, said the response to the offer of help was well beyond Toyota’s expectations and highlighted the need for all New Zealanders, businesses and consumers, to support small businesses.

“Over the years many small businesses in this area have been loyal to us and to Toyota. As a result, we have developed strong bonds with our local customers,” Al says.

“The economic impact of the pandemic is making it tough for many small businesses. Our dealership is no different –as a small business these are difficult times. But Toyota has the capacity to help and a heart that cares about other businesses and the local economy.”

Geoff McLean from DeVille in Nelson has great plans for use of their Toyota Highlander, enabling them to do everyday better and easier. he envisaged the vehicle would be used to pick up fresh local produce from the local farmers markets twice a week, as well as a staff taxi. 

200710 SBD demo02

Rohan and Lauretta Haskell from R & R Kayaks are based over in Marahau on the edge of our local jewel, the Abel Tasman National Park, operating a business that up until now has had a huge focus on international visitors. Infact these visitors have made up almost 90% of their customer base so they are looking at how they can do things differently. 

"We need to put all of our energy and advertising budgets into the domestic market to encourage NZer's to explore their backyard and come and paddle the Abel Tasman with us. Every year we travel the South Island ourselves delivering brochures to accommodation providers and agents for them to display our business, and having the Toyota Highlander to do this takes a lot of pressure off our vehicles and we know we would be traveling safely and comfortably with plenty of room for 25,000 brochures! The size of the Highlander also allows us to offer a new airport service to our guests with the added bonus of good towing capacity for a luggage trailer too." Rohan says

200710 SBD demo01

While there were many accounts of hardship detailed in the Toyota Small Business Driver applications, Toyota also received examples of innovation as businesses swivelled from one product or service to another as they adapted to the changing needs of their customers, with R & R Kayaks being a perfect example of this.

In choosing the 100 businesses that would receive the free use of a Toyota Highlander SUV for a year, Toyota and the selection panel wanted to include a diverse range and geographic spread of businesses.

As a result, Small Business Driver is a microcosm of small business New Zealand – fashion designers and wool buyers, tour guides and restaurants, electricians and builders, physical therapists and podiatrists, shopkeepers and beekeepers. The list goes on.

The 100 businesses which have been chosen to receive a Toyota Highlander for a year will also receive a radio advertising campaign as a share of a $1 million radio advertising fund provided for Small Business Driver by MediaWorks.

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