Twenty-six years ago, when Birgit Meister came to New Zealand for a three-month holiday, she knew instantly she never wanted to go back to live in Austria.

But now, in a way, she feels her life as a general storekeeper in the Mangakāhia valley has brought her full circle.

She was a chef when she left Austria all those years ago, and is once again making her living mainly from food - selling it, making it, planning how to do more with it.

Meister admits that at this stage what she cooks at her Titoki General Store is limited to

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