Deciding Perth, Western Australia was not the place to bring up their son, a Kiwi couple made the move home to New Zealand.

Graeme Halatau and Monique Ross bought the small Kakaramea Hotel just north of Patea and say they wished they'd made the move sooner.

The Aussie culture is very different to New Zealand, she said.

"And I didn't want our son growing up there."


The couple originally from Auckland decided to look for a business with a country feel so their 7-year-old son Haelan could grow up in rural New Zealand.

They were living in a Perth suburb and over the past three years found themselves constantly comparing the Aussie way with New Zealand living.

"It was no contest really we knew we wanted our boy to grow up the way we did here in New Zealand,'' Graeme said.

They searched for a business, a home and income where they could live on site and give suburban living away.

The Kakaramea Pub fitted the bill completely, they said.

Situated on State Highway 3 between Patea and Hawera, they are surrounded by farmland with a few houses in the village and the village hall.

Less than five minutes away is the Kakaramea School for Haelan.

"It's a lovely country school and he loves it.''


Even though it's only been weeks since they took over they are warmed by the
great reception from the locals.

"They are so welcoming. The guys even take their boots off at the door which I find amazing,'' Graeme said.

Monique said the transformation in Haelan has been wonderful.

"He's outside playing all the time and forgets to come home until its nearly dark. He arrives home with dirty knees and feet and is so happy. I don't worry because the community all watch out for the kids around here. The freedom he's enjoying is wonderful."

Because it's early days for the couple they are only open Thursday to Sunday from 3pm to closing.

"And closing is when the customers decide and I'm very happy with that,'' Graeme laughed.

Monique is still working in an IT business remotely from home.

"It's working out really well,'' she said.

Their new lifestyle has greatly exceeded their expectation, they said.

The only bugbear is the humidity.

"In Perth it was hot but it was a dry heat. It's hard coping with the humidity but we'll get used to it,'' Monique said.

Within the next month they will also open for lunches as well as evening meals and they have already hired a couple of local women to cook.

"We get the passing traffic here but really the locals are fabulous," they said.

"We're the only pub between Hawera and Waverley so we attract the locals so it couldn't be better. They're good people so we're pretty lucky. It's all worked out for the best. We're very lucky,'' Graeme said.

If you are driving towards Hawera, you will probably notice the Kakaramea Co-op Dairy Company building (now Hooper Engineering) on your left, the Kakaramea Hotel and Kakaramea School on your right.

You might miss the Kakaramea Hall on your left but if you are lucky enough to go inside as we did, you will discover a little town with a lot of history.