An Iranian immigrant who was paid just $9 an hour while working up to seven days a week as a waitress has won an estimated $10,000 in backpay.

Zahra Barzegari was employed at the Little Turkish Cafe in Auckland's Karangahape Rd soon after arriving in New Zealand in 2009.

She worked 50-hour weeks, missed just 20 days' work in 11 months of employment, and was paid up to $3.50 less than the minimum wage, the Employment Relations Authority heard.

This week ERA member Rachel Larmer ordered Little Turkish Cafe co-owner Eddie Almacy to pay public holidays, annual leave and her final week's wages.

Barzegari's advocate, David Flaws, said she did not want to comment as she had a separate complaint against the restaurant owners, alleging unfair treatment. Cafe co-owner Jungok Baek said the decision had damaged her reputation and she planned to appeal.

She said: "My husband, [Eddie Almacy] comes from the same country and a friend of a friend brought her here. We helped her when she couldn't speak English. I don't know why she has done this," she said.

"I made one mistake with my documents. I did not record her pay for one week because I was so busy working long hours. They used that against me and decided to believe everything she said against us. It's very unfair. I will fight this stupid decision."

Baek had disputed Barzegari's starting date, but the waitress showed evidence that she and husband Hossein Derakhshan had cancelled a South Island holiday in March 2009 so she could start work.

Barzegari also produced phone records, internet chats, texts and emails to prove the long hours she had worked.

In her ruling, Larmer found the cafe's records were inaccurate and that they had paid workers under the table.

Larmer said: "I did not consider existing employees of the cafe and relatives of Mr Almacy to be impartial witnesses."