Kaimoana “flying out the door” at Toby’s Seafood

By Taroi Black

Thousands of kina, oyster, mussel and raw fish punnets are flying out the door at Auckland's Toby's Seafood as rāhui throughout Northland and Bay of Plenty continue to impact whānau preparing for a traditional kaimoana hākari this Christmas. The Māori owned business says it has not even entered its two busiest days of the year. 

Toby’s Seafood manager Anaru Tobin says, "We uphold the mana of all rāhui placed over the traditional seas of manawhenua throughout NZ, as we think about our families at this time of summer and how they go about gathering their seafood for the festive season.”

The various rāhui have brought in a huge influx of customers from all over NZ with an increase in the sales of fish and punnets of seafood, says Tobin.

Some of the favourites, like kina and oysters, are flying out the door, as sales for these items are up on the same time last year, he says. 

Veteran Toby's worker Papa John Te Wake, who has been in the trade for 35 years, says this time of the year really peaks for the business. 

"It can get really busy, people from Panguru come and see me still working and they say, 'Aww, Papa you are still here,'" Te Wake says. 

Toby's Seafood sold more than 3000 whole fish last week alone, along with about 25 kilos of kina, oysters, mussels and raw fish.

"There’s plenty of work here, I go from the market in the morning to here where I help prepare and fillet fish for our customers," he says.

Tobin says, "Our kina and mussels are from Te Waipounamu and our fish, like snapper, gurnard and mullet, sometimes from either Kaipara or Whāngārei in the north or out on the Hauraki.” 

Even whānau such as the Abraham's from Taranaki travelled in to feast on this summer's banquet of kaimoana. 

"We had some smoked mackerel, smoked mullet, kinas, raw fish, fried bread, oysters. Somebody brought in some oysters, I had a flounder," Tiahuia Abraham says. 

Tobin says, "We’ve really seen an increased demand for the supply of kaimoana with orders coming in on the phone and in person to feed the people at this festive time."

Well, whānau you better hurry up before stocks run out at Toby’s Seafood in Auckland.