THE owners of a popular Kawerau eatery are ready to put their knives and forks away and enjoy some island life.
Stu Orr and his partner Lynn Biddlecombe own two businesses in Kawerau. Lynn runs Tarawera River Lodge motel, which accommodates up to 27 guests, while Stu has Knives and Forks cafe and catering in Jellicoe Court.
The couple have become a dynamic business duo in Kawerau over the past year, but now hope to sell both their businesses to buy an accommodation venture in the Cook Islands.
Formerly from Taupo, Stu has been running Knives and Forks since he was lured to Kawerau about a year ago after meeting Lynn.
However, he has lived and worked in the Cook Islands before and has many relatives and friends there.
“My grandfather was from the Cook Islands, so I have family there,” he says. “I probably know more people there than I do in New Zealand.”
Stu’s grandfather was from the island of Aitu, 187 kilometres northeast of Rarotonga, however, he says he plans to buy a business at Muri Beach, the main tourist destination in Rarotonga.
Lynn is English and has lived in New Zealand for six years. She moved to Kawerau two years ago. She has a wide experience in the accommodation industry and lived in France for 10 years running hotels.
While they say both of their Kawerau businesses are thriving, they wanted to slow down the pace a bit.
“We want to do something together where we can see more of each other,” Lynn says.
“Coming from the UK, I had never heard of the Cook Islands until I came to New Zealand. I have been there once for about a week and I loved it. Everywhere we went everyone seemed to know Stu.
The couple have made an offer on a Rarotongan business but have to sell their own businesses before they can make the move.
They say Kawerau has been very good to them in the time they have been there. “In the past two years since a couple of new industries have moved into the town it has been going from strength to strength,” says Stu.