The hut has been the base of a family business run by 71-year-old Temu Ngarima George, more commonly known as Papa George, for four years.
George, who is also widely known for his cultural knowledge, started the business by making eis and says it’s not really a business but more a hobby which allows him to keep occupied and not have to spend too much time at home.
“When the business started we sold doughnuts, pancakes, curried chicken, a variety of seafood, raw fish served with taro, rice and maniota
“It is a hobby I always tell people who ask me, that I love what I do because here I get to share and talk about our culture to the people and share the word of God,” Papa George said.
He is also a pastor at the New Hope church in Avarua and he says sharing the word of God wherever he goes is an important part of his life.
He says the expansion of the hut will see families and friends able to enjoy their meal in a cool dining area.
“Food is important on this island; everyone on this island is always looking for food whether it is breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner then another snack before dinner.
“I felt we needed to work on extending the hut and we are very excited about starting work on this – particularly serving people with Manihiki food.”
The expansion will also involve another part of the business which will offer traditional massage therapy, and supply local medicines all made up according to Manihiki traditions and customs.
“My brother and I are looking to offer these services and we are very excited about it because the skills and knowledge have been passed on from our older generation,” says Papa George.
“Back in Manihiki our family was into herbal medicine and the knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation. We have been learning the art of making traditional medicine and massaging for a long time. We don’t want to lose this talent that we have been given; it is important to us.”
Papa George has seven children, 21 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
He previously worked at the Ministry of Agriculture and says his pension money does help but it isn’t enough for people to survive on, which is why so many older people are selling produce at the market and on the road sides.
He encourages the public to acknowledge the many different people who work hard to build their huts to provide meals, ei and traditional crafts because many may be there to earn money for a living.
Work on “Happened at Tauira’s Hut 24” is expected to start soon.