Bakers get a-round the island

Saturday August 17, 2019 Written by Published in Hot on the Rock
Wallace Aroita with Paul Ongoua, Pua Tuakanakore (holding the doughnut), Mitch James, Angela Purdy, and Pauline Napa. 19081606 Wallace Aroita with Paul Ongoua, Pua Tuakanakore (holding the doughnut), Mitch James, Angela Purdy, and Pauline Napa. 19081606

A new bakery outlet opening in Muri will honour a 76 year legacy with a museum dedicated to the generations who’ve run the business, and a few surprises! 

What’s your favourite doughnut? Start thinking about it, because Rarotonga is in for a treat.

Opening next week just outside Muri, opposite Te Manava Resort, is the new Jancey’s Bakery and Deli.

It’s owned by Avarua Bakery, which this week began selling more than 400 chocolate-coated, creamy local doughnuts from their very own factory in Tupapa, as a trial for the new Muri store.

Wallace Aroita, 27, came up with the idea. He’s the son of Avarua Bakery owner Kervin Aroita.

And after just two days on sale, demand for these old-fashioned, chocolate-frosted, strawberry-frosted, jelly and glazed doughnuts has skyrocketed.

There is more to this doughnut idea.

Wallace, the human resources and sales and marketing manager says this is one of the company’s latest project, and they wanted to reflect on the family legacy, the late Mama Jancey Strickland, his great grandmother, who played a big role in the change of ownership for the company.

He said Mama Jancey was married to the late Eric Browne or “Papa Man” as he was called.

Mama Jancey’s father last held ownership of Avarua Bakery and when he passed away, Mama Jancey took on the ownership and gave it on to Papa Man.

“The change of ownership is a big change in the company’s history and it became a successful move – if it wasn’t for that change we possible may not be directors,” he said.

Kervin Aroita recalls Mama Jancey as the woman who had a gifted touch in the bakery business. She introduced cakes: “From a scratch recipe to a premix today,” he laughs.

“It started from home, her baking was in the kitchen, cakes would be on the lounge. On special Sundays here in Raro, grandma would start baking from Thursday morning right up to early Sunday morning for the church activities.

“It was the early 1970s to early 80s when TV was not really introduced then and there was nothing else to do. She loved baking.”

Wallace said they wanted to portray that passion through the retail store as there was nothing more respectful then to honour Mama Jancey’s legacy.

Though his generation did not meet Mama Jancey. he was lucky enough to meet his great- grandpa, Eric Brown.

 “I remember on his final journey how he was to his staff and family. He was two different people towards the way he controlled things. Not only he was hard, but he gained a lot of respect. He received respect and gave respect.”

Wallace has learned from this.

And with the new shop, people will have a variety to choose – they are looking into other product ranges. Prepared at the retail store, he’s not saying what they’ll be – it’s a surprise for their opening on Thursday next week.

In this, Avarua Bakery’s 76th year, they hope to diversify their business to provide a wide range of products to the community, get feedback – and give back to the community.

Something to expect at the opening, the retail shop will also portray the history of the Avarua Bakery family.

Wallace says they hope to make it as a landmark, something different from what is on the island, a type of museum where old machineries used in the past and Mama Jancey’s baking tools and some pictures of former employees will be on display.

“We want something that reflects on the community: a thousand people worked for this company, we want to honour those who worked for us.”

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