Pūhā & Pākehā - Founders Belinda & Jarrad McKay. Est 2014
Not only is our nation New Zealand beautiful, welcoming and safe, but it also has its own unique culture and cuisine. Belinda and Jarrad Mckay of Pūhā & Pākehā have been bringing a taste of Aotearoa to Auckland’s street food scene since 2014 with their Māori inspired kai. Artfully fusing traditional native New Zealand flavours with modern cooking techniques, Pūhā & Pākehā present familiar foods in new and exciting ways.
Now well established regulars on the food truck circuit, Jarrad and Belinda are coming up to five years of trading from their sleek black caravan. Neither of them had any chef training prior to opening Pūhā & Pākehā, but combined their business and hospitality experience in starting their own gig. Jarrad was a small business mentor and business and marketing educator, while Belinda had worked in hospitality, event management and marketing, most recently as a marketing manager at SKYCITY. Belinda’s lifelong dream of owning a hospitality business began to take shape as the pair discovered a gap in the market for Māori and native New Zealand cuisine. After visiting many markets and events, Jarrad and Belinda decided to take the plunge and bring the kai of Aotearoa to the people of Aotearoa.
Since the summer of 2014, the team behind Pūhā & Pākehā have been serving up hearty New Zealand inspired fare with a gourmet twist. Their hāngī cooked pulled pork has been on the menu since day one and remains a best seller. Other fan favourites include
hāngi kūmara & coconut bites with sweet horopito sauce, tua tua fritters with kina chili chive mayo, Aotearoa reuben sandwich with hāngī pastrami, braised cabbage, cheese, dressing and rēwena bread. Pūhā & Pākehā’s food is utterly delicious, but more than that it allows customers access to our native New Zealand culture through its food.
While Belinda and Jarrad love what they do for the most part, they openly admit it’s not always easy. Unpredictable weather and turnouts mean sometimes being stuck at markets where it is quiet, raining or cold, making little to no profit and sometimes even losing money. Times like those are demoralising, making you wonder why you ever thought this would be fun. They also acknowledge that high rent, staff costs, weather woes and managing food wastage make it extremely difficult to actually make money—very different to the view many people have when they see food trucks serving a crazy queue at a market. Jarrad and Belinda warn others entering the industry that it will be blind passion that keeps you going, not money.
Although food truck life can be tough, Pūhā & Pākehā have found the golden moments that push them through the tough times. For Belinda and Jarrad, it’s seeing people come together over food. They love engaging and talking to their customers, hearing their stories and receiving feedback. Catering weddings is another highlight as getting to be part of someone’s special day is pretty magic. Getting to know other vendors and feeling a part of the food truck community has been a crucial support network in their journey.
Things are not always smooth sailing in the street food world, but Pūhā & Pākehā’s vision and determination have carried them through. Their kaupapa is to take the kai of Aotearoa to the nation. While they currently only operate in Auckland, having the capacity to service all of Aotearoa would be a fulfilment of their dream. They are currently looking for partners to go on that journey with them and will continue serving their delicious food to the people of Auckland in the meantime. Follow their social media for more information about where you can their truck next or visit their HQ at 108 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn, Auckland.