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Wellington cafe unwinds after successful summer

Mar 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

WITH winter approaching Karaka Café staff can now take a well earned rest after reporting a highly successful summer.

The Maori inspired cafe has been at the centre of Wellington festivities since first opening its doors to the public on Waitangi day last year. 

Situated on the waterfront, between Frank Kitts lagoon and Odlins Square, the spot has seen non-stop action all season.

Now, with the summer’s activities coming to an end, the staff can finally return to a 40 hour week.

Waitress at Karaka, Abby Ruru says she cannot remember the last time she had a weekend off.

“I’m studying and working part-time, so the pressure was really getting to me, but it’s cooled off now.  I think winter will be a lot quieter.”

The increase in custom started with the Rugby World Cup fan zone in September 2011.

At times this attracted up to 3,000 people to the area according to the Rugby World Cup organisers.

The café normally earns up to $6,000, but during the Rugby World Cup final they made approximately $17,000, almost tripling their daily revenue.

Early February was the Rugby Sevens and this meant the re-opening of the fan zone and more  business for Karaka.

A few weeks afterwards, the extremely popular New Zealand music festival, Homegrown set up its reggae tent.

Next was the speigeltent for the New Zealand International Arts Festival, which took its place in the same spot and once again people flocked to the waterfront by the Karaka Cafe.

Junior chef, Matthew Kelly recalls frequent late night shifts due to the popularity of the spot.

“One day I started work at ten in the morning in the cafe kitchen thinking I was going to be off home by six but the New Zealand International Arts Festival tent needed me, so I had to stay on till 11pm. It really takes a toll on your social life.” 

He says the café’s Maori inspired menu makes it a unique dining experience which attracts people from all over New Zealand. 

Taranaki Wharf, where the café is situated, is no stranger to crowds. Until the 1880’s,  it was home to one of New Zealand’s largest Maori communities. The café is the first Maori presence on the wharf since that time.

With its calendar event-free for the next few months, the staff at the Karaka say they are now “looking forward to some peace and normality”.


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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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