It’s a family business

Lois Natta is rural stock through and through.

The sales rep’ for the monthly Coast & Country newspaper and the annual edition of New Farm Dairies has been with the company since it started. She worked with Brian and Claire for eight years before that too.

And during that time she has never worked from the office but from home on various farms in various far-flung parts of the country.

She is one of two of the original half dozen at Sun Media who are still working there.

Coast & Country News covers and area from the rural hills of South Auckland, down through the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and King Country.

Lois says the family focus of Sun Media means she has been able to retain her lifestyle and she has clients who are more like family now.

“I’m a rural person and used to be a dairy farmer and live the lifestyle and knowledgeable about most things rural.

“We have lived rural and home-schooled the kids all while working for Claire and Brian. I love my job and I love Claire and Brian. They are just wonderful.”

Publications manager Kathy Sellars started just two months after the business got underway and recalls the close-quarters of the original two-room offices in 2nd Ave.

“It was cosy.”

She has stuck around for similar reasons. Friendship. Claire was her support person at the birth of both her daughters and a bridesmaid at her wedding.

“They are not in it to make millions of dollars. They are into it to help people.”

For their part, Claire and Brian put the success of the company squarely back on the staff they have employed over the years and highlight recent events as evidence of this.

When the country was going into lockdown, almost every staff member worked from home to put out an edition of  The Weekend Sun on March 27.

A government ban on community newspapers scuppered  the four editions scheduled for April – the first and only time  The Weekend Sun has not been delivered each week, in its  20 years.

As soon as it was allowed, the Weekend Sun was again produced from spare rooms and dining room tables across  the region.

And reporters continued to produce and publish news for SunLive throughout the lockdown.

Brian says the company is very light on its feet, adaptable and able to change quickly if required.

“No need for a board meeting,” Claire says.

“It is a brilliant team – they really have been amazing.”

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