HAPPY PUKU MANAGER / HEAD CHEF
Ko Mauao te Maunga
Ko Tauranga te Moana
Ko Takitimu te Waka
Ko Ngati Ranginui te Iwi
Ko Pirirakau te Hapu
Ko Paparoa me Tutereinga nga Marae
My name is Stephen, born and bred locally and raised in a big family. I am the youngest of 11 siblings (4 boys and 7 girls). As far as I can think back we always had a lot of friends in and around my family's home. We were raised with the tikanga values of Manaakitanga - caring about others, making them feel at home and loved. Hospitality is indeed in our veins and that is why I am passionate about life, people and food!
I am a self-taught Chef and happily married to my beautiful wife Tracey with whom we have four children (now young adults). We lived in Paris for many years where I co-founded the restaurant KIWIZINE.
It has been a privilege to be involved with Te Tuinga Whānau and as the song goes "We are family'!
I have been employed for two years as part of a team leading a 10 - 12 week program "W 4 W W.O.F "(Whare for Whānau Warrant of Fitness) designed to equip our parents and whānau with the tools and life skills needed to get their own whare and achieve their full potential. Imparting the practical life skills as well as the passion to simply cook good healthy kai on a budget. This has been a lot of fun and a place of great connection.
The HAPPY PUKU
This mahi has evolved and we now also have a social enterprise called "The Happy Puku". Together with TTW we are pumped to launch our food catering initiative run as a profitable business that helps train and educate those who have experienced homelessness and unemployment. Our goal is to give them employment and quality training.
Now they are giving back to the community that helped them, learning new skills, getting paid employment and are feeding Tauranga Moana with their beautiful creations .
We have served finger foods for large conferences (300 guests), 3 course plated dinners for 250 as well as book launches, marae events and local business catering.
ME MAHI TAHI TATOU - MO TE ORANGA O TE KATOA
We work together for the wellbeing of all