Our Story

It's been an adventure full of fun, family, fish, food and the odd fine wine. Every single one of us has grown every single day as we continue to share this special part of the Bay of Islands with you and here is our story of how we got from back there to here.

March 2013

An opportunity came up for the McMaster Family (Mike, Gayle and their four daughters) to acquire the existing restaurant of 35o South along with the opportunity to develop an alfresco dining space on a soon to be built wharf space that sat alongside the existing restaurant.  


May 2013

The McMaster Family acquire 35o South and continue to run the business as usual for the next 3 months or so while the project planning begins for a new kitchen, new bathrooms and the build of the wharf. The intention is that the entire project will be completed by the end of September 2013.

August 2013

After a final service hosting a local school ball we set about demolishing the existing kitchen and bathrooms ready for Henwood Builder's and their trusty band of tradies to create a space suitable of serving twice the number of people as Alongside is developed. The entire team is involved pulling up lino & demolishing walls. It came down in less than 24 hours and then the real work began

September 2013

We reopen with a great night to thank all the amazing tradies that smashed out a complete renovation of a restaurant in less than 5 weeks and the result was fantastic. Fresher and lighter while still making a feature of our 60,000 lire aquarium (yup it's a massive fish tank!) that fills the centre of the restaurant.

Mike Van de Elsen comes aboard to help with menus and adds his expertise to the family for 12 months. Mike has been a family friend for years and with wife Belinda delivered a stunning wedding reception for Sarah and Jonny. Both Mike and Belinda were an invaluable resource in those early days and moved on as we got the restaurants established as they were  (of course) in high demand for their skills and fun loving attitudes. Mike is now promoting his 'Good from Scratch' products (go get some they are delicious!) and is busy building a farm from scratch with all three of his girls. 

The race is now on to get the new venue open in October 2013

October 2013

Our first It Festival and Eddie joins the family from Auckland. Best mates with Rick Agraval who is married to Lisa, Eddie came to help us out for the massive Labour Weekend including our food & wine festival here in the Bay of Islands and he has never left! Orginally our assistant manager Eddie now fills the GEneral Manager role although we still can't convince him to eat his veges even though we are working on it.

the wharf development is now running behind time and is unable to open in October  and ultimately does not open until the week before Christmas 2013

December 2013

Alongside opens! And Nelson trades in Rotorua for the sea views of the Bay of Islands with his wife Darlene.

March 2014

Cyclone Lusi strikes. While outside the major damage looks to be to the front of the new wharf the biggest mess was caused by an entire window pane that popped out of it's frame (amazingly it didn't break at all and is still back in the same place) and allowed the waves to wash right throughout the interior of the restaurant. The team bands together to clean up the resulting mess but we are left closed for 2 weeks as carpets need to be removed and replaced along with all the electronics repaired or replaced as the salt water is so damaging. 

Sadly due to the long power outages and our team being unable to get into the restaurant for safety reasons the aquarium drained and our fish did not survive. Our crew of crayfish did however live through the ordeal and continue to be found in the tank to this day. 

The amazing team at Bay of Islands Electrical helped us out by taking a few of the team out to restock the tank with local fish and we were back open in early April 2014.

 June 2014

With our busy summer season over our team begins working on the vision, values and culture of the restaurant that eventually weave through everything we do. Winter is a great time for us to work on projects and as a team we explore a number of technological accelerators for our business. Today other than our receipts and our notebooks we use to take notes 35o South is a completely paperless business

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