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Family and friends help Aunty Odee’z realise her takeaway dream

Thursday 16 March 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Local, National, Outer Islands


Family and friends help Aunty Odee’z realise her takeaway dream
Orapa (Odeez) Onu is stoked to be operating her very own Aunty Odeez takeaway in Apiripiri Amuri Aitutaki. PC: MELINA ETCHES. 23031313

Aunty Odee’z Takeaway in Aitutaki has become popular among locals who visit them for hearty meal of crispy battered fresh fish served with chips and salad and the breath taking view of the beautiful lagoon.

Orapa Unu, popularly known as “Odeez”, opened her beachside takeaway located in Apiripiri, Amuri in April last year.

“I cater for our local people because they live here and are always here, year round. It’s wonderful too when the tourists pop in and eat, everyone is welcome here,” says Orapa. 

The business is a family affair. Orapa is a keen fisher along with her husband Nga Unu, her sister Teremoana Teko Rees and friends who fish and collect sea food.

“Depending on what seafood we collect, we make mitiore, kai (shell fish), fry up small fish, and we cook chestnuts when they are in season … whatever we can gather, we cook.”  

Orapa started her cooking journey working at the old “Samade Restaurant” for 14 years. She then moved to the Boat Shed and onto the Coconut Shack. 

Returning from New Zealand a few years ago, Orapa fished in the lagoon and cooked meals to sell at the Aitutaki market.

After years of working in other people’s kitchens, at the age of 37 she is stoked to finally have her own – Aunty Odee’z.

“Now I’m running my own business, now I get it … all those times I thought the boss wasn’t listening,” she laughs. 

Starting the business from scratch and not much of a cash flow, Orapa remained determined to get the takeaway going with the help of her brother Rima, who is a builder, and support from family and friends.

She is grateful for the help she has received. “Without my family I couldn’t have done this, my family encouraged me, my brother worked on the building and my sisters Moana and Tearoa and my Mum are always helping out.”

Challenges have been the inconsistent supply of stock, says Orapa.

There have been “tough” times when she had had to airfreight stock in from Rarotonga.

In the low season when days are slow, her family and friends head out into the lagoon to keep fresh fish on the menu.

“Catering also keeps us going, we make a selection of grazing boxes for customers which have been popular,” says Orapa.

Aunty Odee’z is open Sunday to Friday for breakfast, lunch and dinner and from 6pm to 11pm on Saturday evenings.

Check out their Facebook page “Mata Manga is on Aunty Odee’z” for their menu and fresh seafood delights.