• Video: Community upset over closure of Flaxmere New World

Video: Community upset over closure of Flaxmere New World

Flaxmere residents have voiced their upset over the closure of the local Flaxmere New World in the low socio-economic suburb of Hastings.

Earlier this month Hawke’s Bay App reported that supermarket chain Foodstuffs  had decided to permanently close the Flaxmere New World at the end of February.

The news became public when Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst released a statement saying “we received the incredibly disappointing news yesterday from Foodstuffs, that they would be permanently closing the Flaxmere New World at the end of February”.

Approached by Hawke’s Bay App for confirmation of the closure, Foodstuffs’ spokesperson Emma Wooster said: “The owner of New World Flaxmere has started the consultation process with his team, due to the store closing on 25 February.”

“The property is leased and is up for renewal in March 2024.  We’ve decided not to renew the lease because, even with considerable investment in a refurbishment by the landlord, the building wouldn’t be brought up to the standard we want for both our team and customers.”

Wooster said that closing a store “isn’t something we’d ever do lightly”.

However, Hawke’s Bay App understands that the Hastings District Council is working hard to bring another supermarket operator on to a new development site in Flaxmere.

In the meantime, Hawke’s Bay App conducted a vox pop of locals in Flaxmere and all expressed upset over the decision.

Barbie Aranui says the closure is “pretty devastating”.

“My whole family have lived here in Flaxmere for a long time, for over a decade. And we've used this place a lot and it's afforded us a lot of stuff as well. We're pretty sad basically that this place is closing down.”

For Christine Cunningham, the closure would hit the residents of nearby Swansea Village.

“I'm absolutely devastated, especially for our kaumātua that live over here at Swansea Village. A lot of them don't have vehicles, so what's going to happen to them? It's just absolutely devastating to be perfectly honest.”

Christina Reriti says that many residents do not own cars.

“Not much of a transport to the out of town to bring a lot of shopping back. It's the older people plus the population's gone up, so they definitely need a supermarket.”

Kevin Graham is mourning the closure of “the hub for the village”.

“And I feel sure that there should be a replacement put back in, but that's up to the council and the owners of the complex.”

For Josh Khan there is only one solution.

“I'll have to do more diving, hunting, and fishing, I suppose.”