The story behind Yawye Babies

An idea that was originally seeded in Rarotonga when Yawye founding directors Simei-Barton and his wife, Hope Papali‘i, were working with Cook Islands tourism promoting the Islands’ cultural heritage as a hospitality attraction.

At the marae Arai Te Tonga, a sacred place on Rarotonga where the ariki once presided over sacrifice and feasts, Simei-Barton walked among the old headstones, noting the birth and death dates. He noticed the lifespans diminishing across the 20th century. “It was like a real visual reality check,” he says. “In order for us to live, we need a return to our eating.”

— Words by Nicola Harvey for North & South Magazine, March 2022 issue 

We are on a mission to decolonise the palete of the next generation, using sustainable practices, while making parents’ lives easier.

Our meals are completely free of additives and preservatives. Using only fresh, locally sourced produce, all of our meals are naturally organic, eco-friendly and Indigenous.

Born out of passion to nurture our taitamariki, the concept of YAWYE baby food came about whilst living in the Pacific Islands, learning about the abundance of nutrients found in Indigenous Pacific produce. Our Co-Founder and Executive Chef, Sani, has always believed that “you are what you eat” and wants to share that with the world.

So, will you join us as we fight to curb child obesity in Aotearoa, while building a sustainble future for our next generation?

sani simei

sani simei

Co-Owner / Executive Chef

Sani Simei was born and raised in Central Auckland, with a very mixed background of Pacific, African and European descent; the St Pauls boy knew from a very young age, his purpose was to serve and bring positive change. With over fifteen years experience in hospitality, training under the best chefs in New Zealand, he’s no stranger to a kitchen. Teaching pacific cuisine in Sydney and Rarotonga.

The concept of YAWYE baby food was conceived whilst he was living in the Pacific Islands, learning about the abundance of nutrients found in indigenous Pacific produce. Sani has always believed that “you are what you eat” and wants to be able to share that with the world.

Ani Tawhiao-lOmas

Ani Tawhiao-lOmas

Co-Owner / Creative Director

The second half of YAWYE is Ani Tawhiao-Lomas, a descendant of Ngati Hikairo and Ngai Te Rangi iwi. Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, her background lies in the world of art and design, and leads the creative direction for YAWYE. With a Master of Design and many years of working in the advertising, film and event industries, Ani brings extensive knowledge and creative vision to the YAWYE brand.

Having worked with many different kaupapa over the years, Ani understands the importance of using imagery to connect with audiences, telling a visual story. Using the creative skills she has developed, she brings the concept of YAWYE to life. And as a new mum, Ani is excited to blend her worlds of whanau, art and kai into one.


Building a sustainable future

With the future in mind, we are focused not only on the health and well-being of our children, but also the ongoing sustainability of our planet.

We are committed to operating using sustainable practices, reducing waste and keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum.

As a net zero company, we are proud to be making concious efforts to create a small impact in building a better future for our next generation.

Learn more about our passion for sustainability

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