Cafe Iwi – it’s all about community

Living the dream – that’s what Cafe Iwi is all about. It’s one of a number of community projects and services supported by Te Rūnanganui o Taranaki Whānui.

For cafe Manager Anahera Taripo, it all started when she was just 13 and was working as a “dishy” at the very same cafe which had a different name and owners at that time.

“I used to think it would be awesome if I owned this business one day!”

Now her parents and grandparents own it and she manages her staff who are all young Māori women.

“They have all come off the benefit and I have said to them, ‘let’s show our community that we can do this’.”

Ana is ensuring that the training and up-skilling she provides will give them good future work choices.

“First things first though,” says Ana, “I had to believe that I could do it in myself before I could help my staff see that they could do it too.”

And that’s exactly what she’s done.  One year down the track, Cafe Iwi is doing well.

“We’re now trying to build up our numbers, and we have plans for the future – big plans.”

Hard work pays off

Ana is very down to earth about being in business.

“It’s long days and a lot of hard work. But I am humble that Koko and Neni (Patsy and Teri Puketapu) have faith in me. They, and my parents, have given me this chance and I know I can do it.”

This mother of three walks the talk when it comes to hard work – she’s built up an impressive number of skills and experience through her work and study in her 28 years.  She’s a product of kōhanga and kura kaupapa and has gone on to tertiary study where she is in her final year of a Bachelor in Applied Management, majoring in HR and accounting.  She’s balanced that with the practical side of things and has worked in the hospitality industry and knows it inside out.

Ana is very clear that everything she does is about her community and her kids.

“I want to instill great values in my kids.  And I am up-skilling myself so I can offer my skills to my community and make a contribution to our hapū and iwi.  I would like to be a business mentor one day. There are so many possibilities for small businesses in this community.”

Her aim is to offer industry training through Cafe Iwi in the future so like Ana, her staff will hold the qualifications needed to realise their own life and career goals and aspirations.

Cafe Iwi is a cafe for everyone

The name, Cafe Iwi, reflects the values of the marae located a two-minute walk down the road.

“The name of our marae is Arohanui ki te Tāngata, which means ‘goodwill to all men’.  And Cafe Iwi means a cafe for everyone.  We have lots of local people coming in who have lived in this area for generations. One Pākeha couple have raised nine kids in this area.  We get to hear other people’s stories – people who have been living here since they were kids.  The artwork in the café reflects the shared history of Pākeha and Māori who have lived here in Waiwhetu side by side and we make it work together.”

“This cafe is not about a few people; it’s about a whole community. Everything we do here is part of a bigger picture. The slogan for our cafe is ‘community minded, community connected’. That’s what we’re about.”