Republished by The Pacific Business Hub | By Spacific Consultancy Ltd
Mālō e lelei,
We are so proud to be introducing three amazing young Tongan sisters – Valu, Fiona and Lydia who are the faces behind Nanas Kitchen.
Nanas Kitchen is an up and coming catering company in Otara, South Auckland, offering authentic Tongan and Pacific Island cuisine with a mix of today's tastes, specialising in platters, breakfasts, work lunches, and family functions.
Malo e lelei, my name is Valu Tuanaki. I am full Tongan, and the eldest of 7 children. I was born at Middlemore Hospital, and raised most my life in Otara but I currently reside in Mangere East. I am married to Mone and we have a three-year old daughter Natasha. I am a fully registered teacher and I work for the Auckland Kindergarten Association at Bairds Kindergarten in Otara.
My role within Nanas Kitchen is Admin, alongside my sister Lydia. As an older sister, I am so proud of my sister Fiona. I remember the first time Fiona came up with the idea of wanting to start a Catering Business. I had so many questions such as, where were we going to cook from? Who was going to do the cooking? How do we even start a business? Where were we going to get money from? But I knew, if this was what my sister wanted to do, I would support her.
So in May 2021 we introduced this idea to our Nana and our Village. They were delighted and said they will always be behind her to help her out when she needed it. It was at that moment, that we knew no matter what happens through this new business journey that Fiona was about to embark on, she would not be alone and that our village will be behind her all the way.
It's now 2022 and I’m truly and extremely proud of how far Fiona has come along with the business. She continues to show her passion of cooking whilst working hard behind the scenes of Nanas Kitchen every day. She is always willing to learn and grow when opportunities arise for her in this business venture. Without a doubt, I know that without the prayers of our Nana and aunties, the support of our village, whether it be cooking, cleaning, delivering, advice etc, Nanas Kitchen wouldn’t be where it is now and where it will continue to go in the future.
Malo ‘aupito – Valu Tuanaki
Malo e lelei my name is Fiona Vea. I am 24 years of age, a trained Chef and I am the second eldest sister. Nanas Kitchen is a name I hold close to my heart and hits home deeply. My story started from a very young age. Growing up with my grandparents, hospitality was the main thing taught to us as kids. Hospitality was something we as kids didn’t like but having typical Tongan grandparents, there was no such thing as an option.
In May 2021, I started a small catering business that specialises in authentic Tongan and Pacific Island cuisine with a mix of today’s tastes. The name Nanas Kitchen comes from an area of love but most importantly my grandparents with a long line of men and women who worked hard to get us this life we now have.
Being able to share my talents with people other than family gives me joy and happiness, but most importantly feeling the spirits of my late grandfather, who spoke and taught me that a good host is someone who caters to anyone and everyone whether it is at home or out in the community. It wasn’t until his passing when reality hit me. Life without him got the best of me and for two years I had to figure it all out on my own. Until one day I realised that whenever I would cook, I would feel his spirits around so I kept cooking and this is where it has gotten me. It took a village to raise me and it’s definitely taken a village to build this business and it’s still building.
John 15:5, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” This is to my grandparents who planted good seeds that now have blossomed and borne more fruit.
Malo e lelei my name is Lydia Vea and I am the youngest of the three sisters. I work as an admin alongside my older sister, Halaevalu Tuanaki (Valu).
Outside of Nanas Kitchen, I am a Primary School Teacher currently awaiting Graduation in August. Growing up, food has always been something that brought our families closer together. We watched our grandmothers, aunties and mothers cook all sorts of dishes that would make us dribble from a mile away. Not to forget the loud squeals of laughter that echoed back and forth with our grandfathers, uncles and fathers outside preparing the Umu by the pit. These were the most memorable moments growing up at Nana’s House.
Fast forward a few years, Fiona has now taken on the role that continues to bring our people together. With the uncertainty of Covid and a whole heap of other things, there was no guarantee that the journey would go according to plan but here we are.
I am extremely proud of Fiona's growth over the years. Her willingness to serve others, explore and incorporate different tastes of the world is what makes her unique. You can see the ambition in Fiona’s eyes from a mile away and that’s how I know that was destined for this, despite her stubbornness hahaha. With Fiona’s great passion, it’s evident that she can make the impossible happen. I can definitely see big things happening for Nanas Kitchen in the future.
This journey alone would not have been possible without the support and prayers from our village and customers. Behind the scenes of Nanas Kitchen is not always easy but it’s so worth it knowing we have the support of family, but more so that our customers are happy. They say, a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all and I couldn’t agree more.
One of the things I am most grateful for in this journey is the fact that I get to be in
business with none other than my two older sisters and not to forget our family. This is only the start. Best believe, we will be making big moves.
Love & Light, Lydia Vea