It comes naturally for the Akuthota family to offer free meals on Christmas Day at all five branches of their Satya Indian restaurants in Auckland.

Now in its eighth year, Satya restaurants will be offering free meals to families who have had a rough year, stranded tourists, homeless people and regular customers who make donations.

"There are no strings attached. We don't charge anything," says Samrudh Akuthota, whose parents opened their first Satya restaurant in Hobson St next door to the City Mission where they sometimes set up makeshift stands to cook for the poor.

Looking after your community and people around you is a philosophy passed down through the generations of the Akuthota family, who moved to New Zealand in 1996.


In an act of goodwill during the 2011 recession, Swamy Akuthota and his wife Padmaja offered free meals on Christmas Day, which has become an annual event for up to 1800 people.

This year, the Akuthota's son Samrudh is organising the event while his parents are in India.

Samrudh said the atmosphere in the restaurants is different on Christmas Day and people love it. Homeless people are "insanely gracious".

"People who have a tough year and feel shy, we would love to have them along." he said.

This year, about 35 chefs and staff will be working to offer three different curries - vegan/vegetarian, chicken and lamb, the Indian naan bread, paratha; papadums, side dishes and soft drinks.

The five Satya restaurants at Sandringham (2), Great North Rd, Ponsonby; Mt Eden and Karangahape Rd will be open for lunch between noon and 2pm and for dinner between 6pm and 9pm.