It all started with five David Trubridge lights bought at a sale.

"My wife came home with these lights and I asked her what are we going to do with these?" Murray Douglas from Te Mata Figs said.

More than a year later, with many "hiccups" along the way the lights look beautiful in the newly opened Te Mata Figs Cafe.

The new building is tastefully yet simply decorated with plywood walls, concrete polished floors and wooden furniture.

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The hero of the cafe is of course figs. Everything is to do with figs. There are fig scones, fig muffins, platters featuring figs and a whole lot more, then of course there's fig coffee and tea.

Murray says that he and wife Helen Walker had been thinking about the concept of a cafe for a while.

"We get a lot of tourists coming in to The Figgery asking where they can get a coffee and also where the nearest toilets are. At first we thought about simply putting in a coffee cart," he said.

Sarah Overend makes fig
Sarah Overend makes fig "coffee", The Figgery, Napier Rd, Havelock North. Photo / Warren Buckland

"Then we decided - well we have the commercial kitchen [where they make all their Te Mata Fig products] so let's do it. Everyone has a fig story to tell and the fruit has really come back into fashion in recent years."

Because their Te Mata Fig products are gluten free everything in the cafe is also gluten free "although you would never know it".

The couple set up Te Mata Figs on their return from Sydney in 2008.

"We liked the Australian figs and decided to grow some here as a retirement job."

They now have 1200 trees on their property on Napier Rd, Havelock North. They also have half a dozen people growing for them.

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In 2013 they won an award for their fig jam and their fig salami is the first non-meat salami in the world. They export to China and were just about to move into Japan when Covid hit.

The cafe is an extension of their fig journey.

"We have modelled the cafe on Arataki Honey and see it as a destination where you learn something about figs and have the chance to try them in a variety of different ways."

Chef Shannon Healey, who has been with Te Mata Figs for four years, has been busy creating all sorts of delicious fig fare.

"We already have an amazing range of products, however there is an array of different usage for figs. They are healthy and are super stars. The salmon marinated in fig molasses and then smoked is delicious. There's sweet choices and savoury choices which will swap in and out following the season," Shannon said.

"I have always been a fan of figs. They have an intense juicy flavour that is not overpowering. They look stunning and they pair well with loads of other food."

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There are about 30 varieties of figs which come in all shapes, sizes and flavours.

Murray said no one had really explored the different varieties of fig.

"That's what we do."

Murray Douglas, Checks out his fig trees.
Murray Douglas, Checks out his fig trees.

He said it had been "an ordeal" at times getting the cafe to where it is today.

"We started building and then lockdown happened. When we could work it was hard to get people here because of course so many other people were in the same boat. The builders and all the tradies have been absolutely amazing. They have all done a brilliant job.

"Yes, there have been hiccups but we are very happy with the end result and are looking forward to introducing the fig to our visitors."

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The cafe at 205 Napier Rd, Havelock North, is open Monday to Saturday from 7.30am until 5pm.

The Figgery, Napier Rd, Havelock North opened on Wednesday.
The Figgery, Napier Rd, Havelock North opened on Wednesday.

FIG COFFEE

I tried the fig coffee. I wasn't sure what to expect and took a very cautious first sip. I was pleasantly surprised. It was sweet but not in a sugar sweet sense. This roasted Cofig left a lovely aftertaste and was really delicious. I'll certainly be back for more. Baritsa Sarah Overend served it in cute little plunger with cream on the side.