Cafe Project Officially Open

Junction on Fenton

Friday, 05 Aug 2022

The newest inner-city cafe in Rotorua aims to help revitalise the hospitality industry helping bridge the gap between the industry and education.

Junction on Fenton, which is located inside the Fenton Street iSite building, officially opened on August 1.

The Toi Ohomai/Te Pūkenga led project is supported by Rotorua Lakes Council is a fully commercial café, that also offers training opportunities for the next generation of hospitality workers.

Junior staff at the café will be completing industry apprenticeships, while Toi Ohomai students will gain valuable work experience and training as part of their course. Students will also be able to showcase their work at student-run, pre-sold evening functions. 

Junction on Fenton was blessed by representatives from Ngāti Whakaue and Toi Ohomai before being opened to the public. 

Toi Ohomai Business Design and Service Industries faculty Dean, Bart Vosse, says the project was borne out of discussions with industry leaders who want to raise standards across the hospitality industry. 

The café is managed and operated by highly trained senior staff providing top quality service at a destination café space for both tourists and the community.  

Vosse says this project is a significant investment into the Rotorua community and supports education and the industry. 

“We are bridging the gap between education, industry and community – and we’re proud to do so.”

The café will be wide-reaching across Toi Ohomai, with students from various courses able to learn at the venue. 

Hospitality students will gain valuable work experience, business students can study the operational aspects, music students can perform gigs, the opportunities will have flow-on effects throughout various courses. 

Junction on Fenton café manager Alok Sharma is a Waiariki Institute of Technology (Toi Ohomai legacy institute) graduate and says he’s thrilled to be working alongside his previous mentors.

“I really believe in the vision of the Junction. It’s such an important project and I’m so happy I get to be a part of it.” 

Rotorua Lakes Council owns the iSite building and in March 2021 Council agreed to add an outdoor area to the site to ensure the successful establishment of the café and the realisation of associated benefits to the district and community. The addition of the outside area is also intended to add to the vibrancy in Jean Batten Square. 

Rotorua Lakes Council’s District Development Deputy Chief Executive, Jean-Paul Gaston, says partnering with Toi Ohomai to enable this unique initiative to progress has been a great opportunity to further embed Council’s commitment to a thriving inner city.

“This is an exciting venture and I look forward to seeing the café used as a training facility to support our local hospitality sector and the retention of local students in the long term.”

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