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Great South Stories: Toby’s

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With the help of NZ On-air filmmaker Rupert Mackenzie under the working title 'Great South Stories' has taken cameras out to film an eclectic mix of stories about the lives of interesting characters.

Rupert has compiled 10 insightful and at time's confronting stories that take us up the driveways and behinds doors of those on the famed Great South Road.

Our film crew were setting up in Otahuhu when a guy in his 20s told us that the nearby shop, 'Toby's Fish'n Chip Shop' - better known as 'Toby's' - was world famous in Southside. He said, "If you don't know 'Toby's' you're not from around here". 

We stepped inside the famous establishment at 5am to check out the morning preparation of fish and filleting. The first thing I noticed was the place was pristinely clean - everything sparkled and gleamed. It then became obvious how big the shop was. Tables could seat dozens, there were enormous cooking vats, and display shelves were lined with fresh fish, Kina, oysters and mussels. The shop looked like a mix between a fish market and an eatery.  

Patrick Tobin - otherwise known as 'Papa Pat' - along with his father started 'Toby's' some 30 years ago. Whānau are a huge part of the place, evident in the fact the shop has employed three generations of the Tobin family. 

The first 12 years were hard. Remarkably the addition of fried bread, a favoured indulgence of Māori - was the turning point for 'Toby's' as a business. 'Toby's' now buys in 20 tonnes of fish, seven tonnes of mussels and makes thousands of fried bread a week to feed the army of customers that get their fish'n chip fix.

The shop is now so successful another four have opened in Auckland - making 'Toby's' Auckland's only Māori-owned fast food franchise. 

Great South Road is New Zealand’s longest road, starting in Auckland’s swanky shopping quarter of Newmarket and ending in Ohaupo, Waikato Dairy country.

Used by or home to car dealers, churches, residences, food outlets, farmers, the homeless, street rappers, volunteers, and schools, it is a road that intersects and connects our past, the present, and future.  

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