Sisters turn Muri into a mecca

Saturday August 24, 2019 Written by Published in Hot on the Rock
Mai’i complex managing director Janine Kauvai-Laurie sits on one of the boulder rocks- a memory of her father in front of the new complex. 19082313 Mai’i complex managing director Janine Kauvai-Laurie sits on one of the boulder rocks- a memory of her father in front of the new complex. 19082313

People call it the City of Muri – but they might soon have to rename it the Mecca of Muri.

The tourist destination is getting bigger and better by the day, as the new Mai’i food and hospitality estate doubles in size.

For those who want to make the pilgrimage, earlier this month Mai’i Central opened with four restaurants and a rental car store.

Now, Mai’i Hub has opened next door with six more businesses: Jancey’s Bakery and Deli, a Tems grocery store, a Tems liquor outlet, a Box Fit gym, Polynesian Rentals and to top things off, beauty clinic Akamanea.

Humbled and feeling excited, the landowner and managing director of this new complex says she and her husband had a vision to raise the standard of the retail properties and to give them a significant environment in which to grow.

Janine Kauvai-Laurie said for the mini hub, she and her husband Simon Laurie selectively chose the tenants.

“We wanted to get this place thriving, but to also get all the locals into this complex and to grow and to support this economy,” she said.

The whole idea of bringing all these core businesses together was to work together in the community and give back to the community, but especially the tourism sector. “We thought of having all these core business in place to support tourism and community. It was planned for quite a while, my husband planned all this, I just had to bring my land.”

Mai’i Hub is next door to Mai’i Central, which was built by Janine’s sister Tara Kauvai-Mustonen and her husband Paavo,

The two big dining and retail destinations are built on the sisters’ family land, and they have preserved their mother’s gardens and the frangipani tree that Tara loved as a child.

Kauvai-Laurie said: “We wanted something unique, we didn’t want just a store but a retail store with a character, as you can see we got gardens and black boulder rocks.”

Known to many as Shine, Kauvai-Laurie explained that the boulder rocks placed in front of the complex were significant to her late father, who placed them as the family home.

Mai’i is the name of their family land where the complex is now constructed, and carries the memory of her parents. “I carry them both in my heart, they would love to see the development of this land.”

Tems Store managing director Tere Strickland said the new store was an achievement for them and he recalled how in their young days they were always encouraged to work hard and put food on the table.

Since, he said, he had worked hard in the family business.

“Once you move into a business, it gives you a passion to explore, there is always a risk, especially competition.

“What we have done is to create another branch with the intention to support the community and make it convenient for everyone.”

Jancey’s Bakery and Deli also created some excitement as the hub was officially opened on this week.

The deli is part of the Avarua Bakery and marks the 76th year legacy dedicated to the generations who’ve run the business and mama Jancey Strickland.

Here you will find a variety of decorated, chocolate coated doughnuts.

Akamanea, the beauty clinic, will provide skin treatments, laser therapy and skin rejuvenation.

Jessica Lennan, who will run this clinic, will also provide some beauty therapy such as eye lash and eyebrow tinting and waxing and micro blading of the eyebrows.

Lennan said she was in discussion with a doctor to introduce some Botox products as well. Her clinic is expected to open in 3-4 weeks.

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