Is Tokoroa the last kai stop for travellers
With State Highway 1 set to bypass most towns in the Waikato, a new generation of Tokoroa people is eyeing the opportunities.
Tokoroa could conceivably be one of the few towns that people will have to drive through as they trundle through the heart of the country.
Towns like Cambridge and Taupo already have major bypasses skirting around them and travellers only pull off the beaten track if they have a reason to.
There are more plans on the cards to by-pass more towns over the next few years.
Students sitting the certificate of vocational studies at the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology have been busy preparing their menus for success - based on the premise that Tokoroa will be the last town standing.
Patricia Wickey and Lyriq Irimana are two of the students who have studied the tantalising prospect of a monopoly on the taste buds of travellers.
They have proposed, as part of their course, the concept of a business called ‘Cultural Kai’.
In fact it is more than a theory for Patricia who is planning to set up a stall at the Tokoroa Night Market this week. She will be drumming up a few venison sandwiches, mussel fritters and fry bread.
Irimana said they had focused on two main ethnic food groups in Tokoroa - Cook Island and Maori Kai, including hangi food, and the ever-popular favourite of fry bread.
Their tutor Tia Kapene said there was actually an opportunity for Tokoroa, in light of the highway plans and she hoped some of the students could take advantage of that.
‘‘She will be drumming up a few venison sandwiches, mussel fritters and fry bread.’’ Patricia Wickey
She three groups of students presented their ideas and constructed business plans to back them up.
Irimana said their brief was to benefit the iwi and the hapu which was how they came up with the idea of food.
They have developed a Facebook page, complete with ordering system and a menu complete with pipis and paua, fish and panakeke.
All that remains now is to put the ideas in to practice although Irimana said he was planning to continue his studies for a while yet.
Patricia Wickey and Lyriq Irimana prepare to take advantage of a Tokoroa - the travellers’ choice.