Triez Johnson was dreaming of running her own fish and chip shop while cleaning at ANZCO Foods Manawatū, the meatworks in Bulls.

She would regularly pass the Bulls Fish Shop & Burger Bar on Criterion St with thoughts of one day having her own.

That never happened because the dream transformed into something else and last week Johnson opened her first ever eatery, Win & Bills Cafe in Marton.

Johnson named the business in memory of her nan and koro, Win and Bill Ratana, who were from Parikino.


She says Win was well known for her cooking in Whanganui.

"I wanted to name it after her because I inherited my love of cooking from her. She could cook something out of nothing," Johnson said.

"Growing up, the cake tins were loaded all the time. She'd cook roast meals, make rewana bread and fried bread."

The menus are still being made, but there are a range of breakfasts available including pancake stacks and other meals such as corn fritter stacks as well as cabinet food.

They are also running a happy hour every day from 8.30am until 9.30am where a coffee costs just $2.

Johnson will have some specialities to make her Follett St eatery stand out from the competition.

One menu item she is looking at bringing in is a breakfast BAP which she calls an on-the-run breakfast filled with a hash brown, bacon, eggs and tomato.

The main attraction might be fried-bread burgers, which are not available anywhere else that she knows of.


"It's got steak in it, a relish that I make and a coleslaw that I make too," Johnson said.

"It's the dressing and the relish that everyone loves."

Johnson grew up on Galpins Rd in Marton, raised by John and Dolly Timoti on a farm alongside her grandparents' daughter, Karen Peeti.

Johnson and Peeti considered each other sisters despite a 13-year age gap and Johnson took inspiration from her cooking, saying she inherited her skills from Win.

Johnson remembers baking cakes and slices for fundraising stalls at Peeti's netball games and they remained close until Peeti passed away about 12 years ago.

It seemed as though she was always heading down the path of cooking for a living.

"My sisters are into kapa haka, but my nan told me at a young age that I had her hands and that kapa haka would not be for me," Johnson said.

"My Mum (Dolly) became sick when I was young and I had to learn to run a house. I would go to the budgeter, get the money, get the groceries and cook meals."

Leasing a cafe became the new dream for Johnson due to the hours of work, allowing her to spend evenings with 5-year-old daughter Renee.

She said opening day last Tuesday was slow, but Wednesday was much better and by Thursday the cafe was packed as more people learned about her business.

She has already had days where the cabinet food has run out.

"It's hard case. One guy came through yesterday and we had a sign out saying 'sorry, sold out' and the guy was like 'what can I have?'

"I ended up making him bacon, spaghetti and eggs with toast and he was happy as."

Win & Bills Cafe is open from 8am to 2pm, Tuesday to Saturday.