Summer’s almost here. Perhaps more than ever in recent memory, we’re all hoping for good weather and a chance to truly relax, spend time with friends and whānau, and enjoy the myriad of local events.

The programme of exciting activities which bring us all together certainly doesn’t create itself! Behind every promotion and event is a dedicated (exhausted) team, almost certainly including volunteers, who consistently give their time and energies for the good of our community.

Who are the people and organisations at the heart of life in the East Coast Bays? How do they plan their activities? And how are public sector cuts impacting their efforts and projects?

Let’ begin with our business hubs. Browns Bay, Torbay and Mairangi Bay are BIDs (Business Improvement Districts). There are 51 BIDs across Auckland, representing 25,000+ businesses with a combined capital value estimated at $72.7 billion. Each BID is run by a business association, with targeted rates funding projects and activities to support economic growth in the area.

The targeted rate is based on the number of rated commercial properties as defined by Auckland Council, and the money is collected and distributed to the BIDs by council. This funding covers the operational costs of running the business association and remunerating the BID manager to deliver a pre-approved annual schedule of promotions, events, ad hoc initiatives, and advocacy.

Securing additional sponsorship is vital. For example, in 2023, Hibiscus and Bays Local Board granted funding, which amounted to 17 per cent of Browns Bay BID’s total income towards initiatives that fulfilled their funding criteria. In addition, BIDs also rely on the generosity of local sponsors (i.e., BID members) to support and enhance projects.

While a business association’s responsibility is to ensure that financial commitments are met through targeted funding, they are also charged with identifying other resources, be it financial or personnel, through collaboration with other groups and organisations, and so on, all of which are driven by the desire to improve outcomes for the community.

Kim Murdoch is Browns Bay’s dynamic town manager. At the behest of Browns Bay Business Association’s (BBBA’s) executive board, Kim is a key figure behind many of our most-loved events, including Stihl Shop Browns Bay Boys Toys, Summer Spectacular beach festival, and, of course, the Safe Drive Vehicle Testing Browns Bay Christmas Parade. She works collaboratively with neighbouring BIDs and the likes of Bays in Action, Rotary, East Coast Bays Library, and Bays Work in Progress.

Advocacy and community engagement are essential, she says. “We must be in harmony with other organisations and community overall. None of us can operate effectively in isolation.”

All events are set up to provide fantastic entertainment and entice visitors from outside our district to engage with local retailers and hospitality venues.

“Find a reason to take part,” Kim urges Bays’ business owners. “Taking a stand at, for example, Summer Spectacular could be an opportunity to interact with potential customers you wouldn’t otherwise meet. Grow your network. Get involved!”

Want to know more about what’s occurring in the Bays? Make sure you follow your local business associations on Facebook:

They share their own news as well as updates from local companies and organisations.

The Hibiscus and Bays Local Board Facebook page is another excellent source of information.

Readers can also go to Heart of the Bays website, sign up for the e-newsletter, and follow Heart of the Bays Facebook page for news of upcoming initiatives and events.


Extract of article published in ShoreLines magazine, December/January 2024, p.4.