A bare concrete slab where three adjoining shops burned down in Waipu could be a feature of the town's main road for the best part of a year.

The three shops destroyed in the blaze in the early hours of September 30 are now all operating out of nearby premises.

One of them, Waipu Pharmacy, had been running its pharmaceutical dispensary under the umbrella of its co-business, Russell Pharmacy, with deliveries to Bream Bay customers.

It had also set up a retail side for non-prescription products in another location in Waipu's shopping precinct, The Centre.


But, as of Monday, all the pharmacy's services have been up and running again and will continue at its current site until replacement shops are built at the old site, co-owner Brenda Wells said.

A 'pop up' version of Cafe Deli is temporarily housed across the road in a building which was destined for demolition before the owners put that plan on hold due to the cafe's dire need.

Manager Tori Nathan said it had been a struggle to get the business back to full volume in the makeshift premises, but customers had remained loyal and patient.

Tori Nathan, manager of Waipu's Cafe Deli.
Tori Nathan, manager of Waipu's Cafe Deli.

A kitchen had yet to be installed in a portacom adjoining the building.

Nathan hoped the cafe would be on full stream for the busy holiday season, and back on its old site well before next summer.

Cute but temporary premises for a Waipu cafe after the fire that destroyed a block of shops.
Cute but temporary premises for a Waipu cafe after the fire that destroyed a block of shops.

''We haven't seen the plans but it will be good because it will be a new building. That's something we're all looking forward to.''

Harker Herbals' retail store has also moved across the road to temporary rooms and will return to its site of many years when the new block is finished.

Manager Ian Johnstone said the company's head office will remain in the building it is now operating from, directly behind the old premises and always part of the business - but unharmed in the fire.


Harkers Herbal supplies products to 1200 pharmacies throughout New Zealand but the production line was not in Waipu.

''We were lucky because all our manufacturing, storage and distribution has been done in Hastings for many years. We did lose the head office in the fire but we're now in what will be our permanent headquarters.

''The retail will go back in front, we hope by the end of next year.''

Johnstone said the fire probably affected the cafe business worse than his, but with less foot traffic coming to that section of Waipu's small shopping centre businesses like Hammer Hardware were probably also ''feeling it''.