The events of the last few weeks have brought into sharp focus what we really value in life – our health, our families, our relationships and our communities. It is perhaps a long overdue re-balance of priorities away from business, from money and an “always on the go” mentality.

It’s over thirty years since I first established Silver Fern Holidays as a sole trader, ironically working from home (as I am now) offering holidays to different parts of the world.  Since that time, working with my wife, Barbara we have continued to do so through our travel agency, Hyde Barker Travel and our specialist New Zealand tour operation. In all this time and through numerous crises, we have not faced anything quite like this on such a large scale, but we’re hopeful and extremely grateful for all the support and understanding we’ve received.

It’s been a time when we have needed our staff, our accommodation providers, guides and transport operators to step up to the plate and I’m so immensely proud of the way they have done so.

We’re also hugely grateful for and reliant on people like Ken at Budget Rental Cars head office in Auckland who immediately responded to my request to reduce car hire fees for clients caught in the lockdown (without reference to his boss!). To Caroline and Suzie at Criffel Peak Bed and Breakfast in Wanaka, who made their apartment available to our stranded travellers and to Sue in Christchurch who at a moment’s notice, sorted out accommodation in the city at special rates when all the hotels closed their doors.

We’re also acutely aware that people in more remote and less developed parts of the globe are facing much greater challenges and the need to stick together in these unprecedented times is vital. So, we’ve made a number of donations through our contacts in Nepal, Burma and Laos to try and help ease the pressure in any way we possibly can.

Looking forward, we are hopeful that all our tours and holidays booked for next season in New Zealand will go ahead – certainly our Kiwi hosts are eager, as always, to show off the delights and highlights of their beautiful country. As things start to settle down, I also hope those of you who have been dreaming of that “once in a lifetime” holiday will hold onto that dream and take the plunge in the not too distant future, it really is a place like no other.

Thank you all for your support at this difficult time, it means the world to us!