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Christchurch cafe wastes no time opening at level 3

Daniel Perese
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(Left to right) Harmony, Atawhai, Jimi, and Kapaitawhai after serving their last customer  Daniel Perese

A local Māori cafe is back open for business, serving customers from the minute lockdown eased, at 12am on Wednesday morning.

Staff at Waharoa Co-op cafe on Ōpawa Road were pleased to see the influx of customers coming through their driveway as the clock ticked midnight. 

Within just 5 minutes of opening, there were more than 50 people - some in their dressing gowns - waiting in line to support the business and say 'kia ora!' to owner, Jimi.

Jimi was just as happy, and said it was good to see real people again. 

Waharoa cafe opened a month ago, just before the country was plunged into strict level 4 lockdown conditions. The cafe made the most of the situation it found itself it, collaborating with drug-ARM to feed the less fortunate in Latimer Square. 

Waharoa was one of the only cafes in the area serving customers in the dark of the night, but it paid off for all. Within the first hour, the cafe was out of their famous donuts and dozens of coffees had been slurped back. 


00001.Friends enjoying midnight coffee
(Left to Right) Harry, Jade, Maria, and Stephen enjoying their midnight treats Daniel Perese

Customers, too, were happy to be back down to level three, excited for their midnight treats.

Harry (left) said that he was happy to come down to support local, and to see the friendly faces of the staff.

Maria (middle right) said Waharoa shows so much aroha and always gives back to the community.

Stephen (right) said that it is not just a cafe, and that he's made to feel more like whānau than a customer. 

Waharoa will remain open, albeit with government-imposed restrictions, throughout level 3.