By Waimanea Nuri, Te Rito Journalism cadet
The Nukuhou North Café, run by a family spanning three generations, is one of the last surviving cafés in Waimana in the eastern Bay of Plenty.
The owner of the business, which sits on State Highway 2 between Taneātua and Ōpōtiki, Erina Rudolph, says the rural Māori business not only feeds the communities of Nukuhou and Waimana, it’s also providing a future for her whānau.
Rudolph says Covid-19 occurred not long after the café had its grand opening and, despite the challenges, the whānau continued to provide wholesome cuisine to the eastern Bay of Plenty throughout lockdown with the support of her whānau and the local community.
“Our customers are the ones who have supported us - that's why we have been able to stay open. We really appreciate our customers and our regulars."
Visitors to the café will meet Jachaiyah and his sister Eliani, who are Erina's children.
Erina says that it's been awesome having three generations of her whānau working together.
“Mum, dad, my husband, myself, my children, my brothers and sisters are working together to make Nukuhou a great cafe full of kai and aroha."
Jachaiyah serves not only the counter but he also makes the "best burgers, smoothies and milkshakes in town".
He says it's pretty nice working with his family. “I don’t have the issue of them wanting to fire me if I stuff up and that's pretty good.
“When I grow up I want to be an accountant because working in the front is cool."
Eliani says she wants to carry on the business when she gets older and hopes to keep the business in the family.
“My favourite food at the cafe is the burgers, so come on to the cafe and see what you like the best.”
Another of the café's owners, Kanji, says having his family working together has been a dream come true.
In addition, he says his family has been living this lifestyle for some time and they are enjoying every second of it.
“From way back I've always hoped for this reality," he says.
Erina Rudolph says there's lots of love put into their food.
“We make sure that it tastes nice and that all food is up to standard, so nau mai, haere mai ki Nukuhou café”.