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Online platforms share support for small Pasifika businesses

As Auckland settles into Alert Level 3 from a month-long Level 4 lockdown, locals have rallied to share their support for small Pasifika businesses.

feeds in the south

A viral Instagram post by Feeds in the South is encouraging food lovers to ditch the big chain restaurants and instead support their local businesses.

“You can support big chain restaurants, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I absolutely see that the dollar means a lot more to our small businesses,” the post reads.

Many businesses had to close down over lockdown due to a lack of financial support. Leyriel’s Cakes is among the small number of Pasifika businesses that were lucky to operate within the Level 4 guidelines.

Run by a Samoan couple in their home, Sina and Junior Petelo’s business blossomed from a baking hobby they picked up during lockdown to pass time.

“We started making some birthday cakes for our family members out of love until some friends hit us up requesting orders,” Sina says.

As self-taught bakers, the duo have created astounding cake designs for their customers, one of which includes a 2-tier Melbourne Storm cake.

Sina and Junior decided to focus on running their small business after their full-time jobs were paused over lockdown. The only setback they had was waiting on stock equipment and cake decorations, where there were delays on deliveries.

At Level 3, Sina and Junior will be returning to their full-time jobs, which means Leyriel’s Cakes will be operating only during the weekends.

“We have to balance our work life and our business, plus our personal responsibilities in our family,” Sina says.

The shift in lockdown levels saw other small Pasifika businesses return. Ehavens Kitchen, which specialises in seafood boil up and other seafood cuisine, opened again, this time with a reduced menu due to low stock.

@ehavenkitchenYes I can love you🧡♬ Like I Can – Sam Smith


Located in 71/F Portage Road, Ōtāhuhu, Ehavens Kitchen is run by a Tongan family.

Makelita Joy Taulango (known as MJ) is the 20-year-old owner and one of the daughters of the family, who says their business was encouraged by the ongoing love of supporters who enjoyed seeing their food posts online.

“Mum loves to cook and create dishes from scratch,” MJ says.

“On Mother’s Day, mum made seafood boil up and made this sauce that we have never tasted before. We posted some pictures on social media and people enquired to know more. So we started taking orders.”

MJ and her family started Ehavens Kitchen with no experience in running a business.

“Since opening Ehavens Kitchen I have learned along the way,” she says.

“My mum used to say, if you know how to run a family, you can run a business.”

Leyriel’s Cakes and Ehavens Kitchen have experienced first-hand the importance of community support on their business.

“Any business relies on our community, friends and families for their support to grow. Without their support, there will be no business,” Sina says.

To find other small businesses you can support, check out the ‘Level 3’ highlights video on @feedsinthesouth‘s Instagram page.

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