Big Wave Café’s missed summer

The Big Wave Café, sorely missed at the Main Beach. Photo: Supplied.

The popular Big Wave Café cart is missing from the mobile traders’ line-up at the main beach this year and customers are getting wild about it.

The Big Wave Café has been part of the Christmas/New Year beach scenery for the last five years, successfully acquiring a trading licence from the Tauranga City Council tendering process for each of those years.

But their tender was rejected this summer because the business didn’t satisfy the city council bureaucrats about its sustainability.

This is a business that had an environmental scientist on staff at the time their application was made, and has had a strict recycling policy for the four years before the city council added sustainability to its criteria for this summer’s tender acceptance process.

Big Wave is organic, fair trade, and organised its own re-cycling and waste streams and their disposal for years before it was a council requirement.

“We did it ourselves because TCC didn’t do it for us,” says a spokesperson.

They had a water filtering system and recycling as well, but apparently it wasn’t enough.

The row of vacant mobile trader parks today.

In reply to questions Tauranga City Council staff say only that Big Wave wasn’t successful in the tender process this year. And they sent a copy of the mobile shops evaluation criteria.

Under ‘Sustainability’ it states Council staff will consider the proposed actions the applicant will take to minimise environmental impacts, including but not limited to:

Reducing waste, Using packaging materials that can be recycled or composted, Providing opportunities for the public to divert recyclables and compostable material from the rubbish, Food waste reduction, Reducing water consumption, Reducing energy consumption, and Fairtrade/Rainforest Alliance certification.

The sustainability issue is given a weighting of 30 per cent. Meaning it’s about a third of the evaluation points towards a successful tender.

A panel of three from the council’s Parks and Recreation and Transportation teams evaluated the tenders, says acting manager parks and recreation, Josh Trafford.

“The evaluation of the tenders is based on the quality of the information provided in the written applications, along with any complaints received and the applicants’ history of compliance across the city,” says Josh.

The council decision forces Big Wave off Marine Parade until after Waitangi, when the peak season licences expire.

Meanwhile Mount Maunganui locals point to the row of empty mobile trader car parks today to underline their point that the council process is flawed and doesn’t account for the community’s wishes.

The Big Wave Café operators are also a community hub. They organise beach clean ups they host a local notice board and local suppliers no longer have the Big Wave Café buying off them, and there are the job losses, the uni students who work over the summer.

“They’re like the main ‘info centre’ opposite Mount Drury and Moturiki Island, keep an eye on young ‘uns, lost property, sleeping seal pups and keeping the area clean,” says one Facebook post.

Big Wave will be able to operate at Mount Drury again from Wednesday 7 February, if they have a current food registration and if they wish to.


@PersonWorm completely agree

Posted on 30-01-2018 20:25 | By Captain Hottie

How about council clamping down on the takeaway outlets that use styrofoam and non-grade 1 or 2 plastic containers? If the likes of Burger Fuel can use paper to wrap their burgers why can’t the local greasy spoon?


Posted on 12-01-2018 08:20 | By PersonWorm

The most infuriating part is that a significant amount of plastics are not recyclable in Tauranga- ONLY grades 1 and 2. Which means that even if the cafe is using recyclable lids and compostable coffee cups, there is nowhere to dispose of these sustainably in Tauranga. They will end up in landfill. "Compostable" means it needs to be commercially composted in high heat conditions. Your backyard composting is unlikely to work, and as far as I am aware there is no commercial composting available in Tauranga. So the so-called sustainability is a joke. We can’t even recycle ice cream tubs or yogurt pots or plastic bags.

Captain Sensible...

Posted on 12-01-2018 07:18 | By groutby

You raise a very good question there re. the ’proposed’ Museum....sadly I doubt they will, ( apply the same rules), I think we all know what we are up for one way or another (’by hook or by crook’ :)..and ex. Mayor Crosby has made the initial comment about rate increases for such projects, so, get ready to be asked (TOLD) to prise ya’ wallets open further ratepayers!...very, very concerned and near angry comments directed toward council here, somewhat concerning ,


Posted on 12-01-2018 01:40 | By Capt_Kaveman

Get them off prime parks and over to the grass, the only ones on the main beach should be Learn to swim and Mr Whippy the rest across the road


Posted on 11-01-2018 22:12 | By nocommentfromme

As citizens all we can do is realise our mistakes and make a different decision in future. This kind of ongoing ignoring of public opinion comes down to the leadership. We obviously voted in the wrong mayor and councillors. Its a while away yet but lets get word out there. #VoteForChange

Dear contributers

Posted on 11-01-2018 19:41 | By overit

Refer to Sunlive Friday 15 December 2017, Letters to the Editor. Title ’CALL TO ACTION’. Basically it says, lets change things and start planning for the next election. A complete clean-out is required to save Tga from the group spenders we have running the city now. Contact A. Bourne, PO Box 16240, Bethlehem. Time to group ratepayers.

TCC should be closed down

Posted on 11-01-2018 19:31 | By Really

How long can the NZ government let local government carry on their incompetence at ratepayers expense. It would be a prime time to close down TCC before they start building their new castle. Things would be more efficient and successful without their involvement.

Typivvcal Council idiocy

Posted on 11-01-2018 16:36 | By Chapsmate

It is unbelievable that council are able to continue stuffing up, with the regularity that they do.A business that is a going concern; good for the community; has been dumped by idiots in council who don’t have to justify what they do ~ until the next elections!


Posted on 11-01-2018 16:22 | By Captain Sensible

Hope TCC apply the same set of rules to their Museum!!

Commercial Winge

Posted on 11-01-2018 15:33 | By dbunk

They missed out and others got in, so what? I saw plenty of food caravans there today, it is the beach and there are cafes down the road that pay actual rent to feed the masses, leave the car parks to beach goers and if you feel that aggrieved write to the paper so everyone knows your feelings have been hurt...oh wait, that is what this is...


Posted on 11-01-2018 14:54 | By morepork

The problem with your perfectly reasonable request is that they don’t HAVE to justify the decision they took. Not accountable. Not transparent. A faceless set of bureaucrats who can work to whatever agendas they like. But don’t blame THEM, blame US, because we have not insisted on Laws and protocols that would require them to provide their reasoning on ANY issue, if requested. While we must support Council in getting on with the Business of administration, that doesn’t mean they should be able to do whatever they like, with impunity. If a decision is taken, following the set down procedures, it is fair that it should be binding and they don’t have to debate it publicly after the fact. BUT, they should still be able to show their reasoning for it, if requested. The Community can then draw their own conclusions and apply them at the next election...

Commercially sucessful

Posted on 11-01-2018 14:51 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Cant have that, it might get in the way and show up TCC and its horrible appendages for what they really are.

A good example...

Posted on 11-01-2018 14:39 | By morepork

...of Council following their OWN agenda, rather than that of the people who elected them. It is pretty obvious that this a popular and responsible business that enhances the community. Why make it hard for them? TCC should be SUPPORTING businesses like this. The empty spaces in the photo are a shameful indictment of people who are just not competent to recognize what is needed here and what the preferences of the local community are.

@ peecee09

Posted on 11-01-2018 14:34 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The same modes operandi is being applied to teh CBD and it is dying, I guess as the job is well underway there they are now going to hack away at the Mount. part of teh problem is that TCC and its staff seem to "think" (not as we know it...) that anything that dream up is the bees knees, anyone elses idea sucks and has to go as it is not part of the "leaders" masterminded end game plans. Result... shuflle a few bits of paper, tick a few "desired" boxes and you got it the "preferred" option was the only one left. That is what Councillors have yet to learn, that they are being played every day for suckers and so to date the people pay dearly for the destruction, they pay dearly for teh loss of things good... yet wonder why.


Posted on 11-01-2018 14:31 | By morepork

This Council, just like all the Councils before it, gets some things right and some things wrong. I share your frustration, but in order to "do something about it" people would need to be much more careful about who they vote for. As there is a never-ending story of Councils not listening to the public once they are in power (this is a perfect example) most people become apathetic and either don’t vote or just "go with the flow". We don’t get represented by the people we want, but we do get represented by the people we deserve. If there was an independent candidate who campaigned on "Accountability & Transparency" do you think they would have any chance of being elected? Sadly, I don’t, so it comes down to the "career" politicians and even the "good" ones on Council are blocked by politics and red tape.


Posted on 11-01-2018 14:20 | By The Sage

These Council workers have no business acumen, in the main and are out of touch. There will be a hidden agenda to this that none of us is privy to. So what happens to these business owners, all of whom are self sufficient, providing jobs and doing a great service to the community? This Council are the same ones trying to tamper with rubbish collection, and, if they have their way, will put many more business owners out of business. Leave businesses to those who know how to run them and stick to rates and parking tickets.

Common sense

Posted on 11-01-2018 14:14 | By Bunce

Well once again the council has demonstrated they have no common sense to share between them.They should be focusing on the terrible traffic they really want to put people off from coming here,youd be forgiven for thinking so.


Posted on 11-01-2018 12:54 | By peecee09

An absolute Mount Icon chased away.Beautiful coffee and great ambassadors for our beach. An exasperating mindless decision that should be addressed immediately.

Incompetent Council

Posted on 11-01-2018 12:51 | By Told you

I think at times these people are aliens certainly not from this planet, how on earth did they come to the conclusion that the cart wasnt sustainable.

They just

Posted on 11-01-2018 11:27 | By Merlin

They just wanted to get rid of mobile traders with the criteria they are applying.Council you suck.

Fatal mistake

Posted on 11-01-2018 11:23 | By MISS ADVENTURE

They thought of something good before the "masters" could possible conceive of it, so upstaged the toys have been sent flying. Interesting to note that the pile of paper sent in is way more important than the actual truth of it all, sad! Thats what you get from upstaging the muppeets in the CBD.


Posted on 11-01-2018 11:20 | By maildrop

You can’t read. It doesn’t mention non compliance. They simply didn’t win the tender because the bureaucrats thought someone else could do it better.

Red tape

Posted on 11-01-2018 10:59 | By overit

Lets drown in it.


Posted on 11-01-2018 10:33 | By waiknot

Non business aware bureaucrats making council decisions.

TCC stupidity

Posted on 11-01-2018 09:49 | By Captain Sensible

Oh’ve done it again!

Bureaucratic Madness???

Posted on 11-01-2018 09:31 | By Bruja

Can ANYONE from Council say, in plain English, not robo-speak, what it was that Big Break was doing or not doing that caused this supposed non-compliance? We, the citizens of this city, have a right to know. Thank you.

Fed up

Posted on 11-01-2018 09:00 | By Nick220

Well Ive certainly had it up to the eyeballs with this council, something needs to be done

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