Back to the source

Community, kids and provenance are the cornerstones to this thriving year-old café. 

Words Robyn Yousef. Photography Adam Firth

What’s the connection between travellers to India on a mission with Child Labor Free (CLF), and a café in the suburban east of Auckland?

The answer is the three inspiring minds behind Source Café in Pakuranga, two of whom founded CLF while the third is the organisation’s CEO. 

They were travelling in India when the idea for Source Café was born. A year on, plans are afoot to open two more Auckland cafés in Westgate and Newmarket. 

Delicious Granola from Source

Everything at the café is ethical, upcycled, recycled, Fairtrade or organic. And everything in the café, from food to furniture, has a story about its ‘source’ – such as information about L’affare of Wellington who supply Gusto Blend Fairtrade coffee and Matakana’s Morris & James who made the special light fittings.

The café is owned and operated by business partners Nik Webb-Shephard, Michelle Pratt and Nikki Prendergast.

Source Café founders Michelle Pratt, Nikki Prendergast and Nik Webb-Shephard. 

Nik is CEO for CLF (New Zealand) – an organisation with the vision of creating a world free of child labour. 

Founders of CLF, Pratt and Prendergast also own the neighbouring New Shoots Children’s Centre. The three partners have a vision of opening a chain of Source Cafés throughout the country and where possible, they will be built in conjunction with a childcare centre or within an established business.

“So they can stand together as the root of that community,” explains Webb-Shephard. He emphasises that the key focus of the business includes community along with sustainability and good ethics, making for conscious consumerism.

Other initiatives include work on a community garden, where fertiliser is supplied by the café so it can strive to be zero waste. Produce from the garden is then used in the café. The café also favours products from small independent suppliers.  

And then there’s the food, which is consistently good. For breakfast or brunch, the Elvis Waffle (crisp waffle, caramelised banana, peanut butter, bacon, maple syrup and vanilla mascarpone) from the café’s new menu is nipping at the heels of the French Toast in terms of popularity. Or you can have Source Granola, served with Raglan coconut yoghurt and stewed fruit.

For lunch try the Vegetable Socca Pancake or Salt and Pepper Squid and for dinner the Mushroom and Parmesan Risotto is superb. The all-day kids menu has some real winners and there are plenty of vegan and gluten-free choices. 

Over summer, the barbecue is being fired up out in the courtyard and live music has added to the atmosphere. Private functions – including intimate weddings – have also been very successful.

Source Café, 149 Cascades Road, Pakuranga (09) 869 3712. Open Sunday to Wednesday 7am to 4pm; Thursday to Saturday 7am to late. 

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