The mystery of the old kauri cottage on land bordering the river across from Waipu township is at last to be revealed.
Over the past two years locals have watched and wondered as the 130-year-old cottage was first positioned, then completely renovated on the site known locally as ‘the pageant ground’ and close to where the first Nova Scotian settlers landed in 1854.
The cottage has its own special pedigree. Sited where a flax mill on the Mander estate was believed to have operated, the cottage did not have an address until Mr Mander subdivided in the 1920s creating Porowini Ave, Whangarei, and was part of the Philpott and Rive building company depot, and later Ford’s bakery.
Now, with an external face-lift and an extensive internal revamp the historic and picturesque building now more grandly houses a boutique skin health and beauty clinic at the front and a steam punk espresso bar opening onto a large deck at the back.
Nina Quan and Riki Taiaroa are the inspiration behind Waipu’s newest venture.
A family that loves working together
Nina’s skin clinic will feature specialist skin rejuvenation services using some of the most advanced products and technology, as well as other beauty services such as waxing, eye works and eye brow feathering or microblading.
Riki’s espresso bar is named after the rune Feoh, a symbol meaning cattle, and also associated with prosperity, wealth and abundance.
Riki will open during what he calls the ‘fringe’ hours – 7am to 10am and again from 4pm to 7pm – catering for people who want excellent coffee outside mainstream cafe hours. His is a truly unique method of coffee preparation, designed to allow ‘infinite flexibility’ in the coffee his customers can experience.
Fusion couple, traditional food
Nina, born in Saigon and from a family of foodies brings her traditional fresh Vietnamese rice paper rolls with her grandmother’s secret recipe dipping sauce to the menu.
Riki, bought up in Mosgiel could not be overshadowed and has his family’s delicious cheese rolls on offer.
“At our age, we only want to do what we’re passionate about and what we’re really good at. We find that when we are authentic and put ourselves into the things we do, people feel this and love it too.”
A very special fit-out
“This is as much for us as it is for our clients. Our work is our life and vice versa, so while we’re at work, we may as well be surrounded by what we love, that way it doesn’t feel like work.”
Pursuit of excellence
Riki and Nina are aiming for business from within the local Waipu community.
“There are great choices in Waipu for tourists and visitors, but before the day begins and when the day ends, where can the locals go that is special and just for them?” says Riki.
With Nina’s business mainly by appointment only and with Riki working the ‘fringe’ hours, the couple say they are ‘there for the people of Waipu. If visitors find us that’s fine, but our focus is the local community.’
n On Sunday February 11, between 12pm and 2pm, Riki and Nina will open the whole cottage to the public. It’s an opportunity for the local community to see how it all came together, without needing to book a treatment and have a coffee.