World famous in Hamilton Mamas Donuts hit Otara

By Bronson Perich
A closeup of Mama's Donuts / Source - YouTube.

Mamas Donuts is world famous in Hamilton for feeding donut fiends three days a week. The business model allows the mamas who work in the company to spend more time with their whānau. It's ideal for helping mothers gain employment and start their own businesses, the mamas say.

Raella Kahuroa (Ngāti Kahungunu) is a co-owner of the Otara-Botany branch and says whānau are everything to them.

"We are, as the name suggests, mothers. That model was designed to support mothers spending time at home with their children."

Kahuroa says they want people to eat healthily and that most of their customers buy the donuts for special occasions.

"It's definitely not a food we'd encourage you to eat every day. It's a treat," she says.

The company started as a way for two busy Hamilton mothers to earn extra income. From food trailer to factory shop, to six branches across the North Island, the owner-operators of all but one of the stores are Māori. The majority of their staff are also Māori.

The former early childhood teacher says she became the latest Mamas Donut store operator through her friendship with the original creators of the company.

"Both my husband and I know Bex and Rachel and as they began to license they were happy to consider us as licensees," Kahuroa says.

She says building a donut shop is neither cheap nor easy, saying that the costs of building a shop are “a lot”.  Kahuroa also spoke of the difficulties of bringing their premises up to code. Despite these challenges, Kahuroa says she is committed to paying her fellow donut mamas well.

“I want people to have a living wage, to feel comfortable about living. We start at minimum wage because it takes a while to train them.”

Raella and Renata Kahuroa’s new Mamas Donuts branch opens next Saturday.