Pāua pies putting Tokomaru Bay on the map

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The Tokomaru Bay Pāua Pie is gaining a reputation as a highly sought-after delicacy on the East Coast.

One customer says, “Very creamy, tasty and plentiful. Delicious.”

People from all over are lining up at Cafe 35 in Tokomaru Bay to try the famous pāua pie.

“I've been hearing a lot these pāua pies, just on our way up to Ruatoria and thought we stop in and get some lunch on the way,” says another customer. 

Cafe 35 owner and operator Rachel Bellamy says, “I owned the store in Te Puia, Te Puia Store, and I thought I'd come down here and have a really nice life and go fishing, but we've created a little monster with these pāua pies."

The pāua are sourced from the Chatham Islands and while the full list of ingredients are being kept under wraps, Rachel Bellamy says the secret is labour and love.

“Sometimes we don't feel too loving toward them when we're all day make more pies it is just constant,” says Bellamy.

Demand is high, with over 200 pāua pies being sold each day over the peak summer period.

“Man I reckon that's about a 9.5, maybe a 10,” says a customer.

Another customer says, “Really good pastry, creamy, definitely buy again.”

However, it's not only the pāua pies that keeps people coming back.

Bellamy says, “Pork belly pies, we've had one complaint about those and that's too much meat in them, so that's not a bad thing, we also do mutton curry and mince and cheese.”

Passing through, an Italian tourist says, “This pie is amazing, it's true. The smell of fresh, freshness.”

One satisfied customer says, “This food is excellent, it's a delicacy for noble chiefs.”