Wellington Scoop

A new sustainable deputy mayor


The new Celia Wade-Brown era has begun with her choice of 34-year-old Johnsonville councillor Justin Lester as her new deputy mayor.

After her learning experience with Ian McKinnon, a deputy mayor who didn’t hesitate to vote against her, one can expect that the mayor has reached an understanding with Justin Lester that his role will involve support for all her policies. Explaining her choice in her announcement this morning, she says he “showed a willingness to work cohesively with all councillors.” And in the DomPost today, the new deputy mayor says: “We can work together and balance people out.”

Justin Lester is the founder and co-owner of the chain of Kapai food stores (“New Zealand’s fanciest takeaways”). He has a Masters degree in law, and was a senior government policy analyst when the first Kapai store opened in 2007. At that time, he told the DomPost: “We are homegrown and intend to take on some of our more established international competitors such as Subway and McDonalds.”

Now there are six Kapai stores, all of them in Wellington. The newest one opened this week in Mulgrave Street. A Featherston Street store opened earlier in the year. Cuba Street opened last year.

And the business seems to be aligned with the policies of the mayor. It supports the Zero Waste strategy by using only biodegradable products where they are available. “This extends across our bread bowls and potatopaks, which are so safe you can eat them, and our bio-ware packaging.” It supports Zealandia, and encourages its customers to help preserve the environment by donating at any of its Wellington stores. It also supports Fairtrade products.

Kapai has a cheerfully informal approach to business. Here’s how it describes itself:

Is Kapai a fat cat multinational?
Not. On. Your. Nelly.
James and Justin from Newtown and Johnsonville have been mates since Form Three. They grew up in the epicentre of the universe, Invercargill, James with his long curly hair and Justin with his undercut. Over time they made their way north to Wellington where they set up camp and embarked on a mission to create real New Zealand fresh food. Sam, James’ big brother, came on board and with his eye for detail and design completed the triumvirate.
So in short, Kapai is 100% Kiwi owned and operated and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Kapai New Zealand, eat your greens.

There’s more:

Kapai is a little wee business unique to Wellington. We’re big on sustainable practices and healthy eating using locally sourced food, all the while ensuring everything tastes great. You probably didn’t know we use free range eggs from the Horowhenua, salmon from the Marlborough Sounds, avocados from the sunny Coromandel and freshly squeezed apple juice from Greytown. You won’t find any additives or preservatives in our food. No siree! It’s Fresh. Local. Good. It’s Kapai.

It rates the nutritional value of its salads with a style that aligns it with Generation Zero.


And it has even won prizes for popularity.

Which seems like a good formula to be pursued by the mayor and her new deputy mayor and the new council.


  1. Elaine Hampton, 18. October 2013, 11:42

    Congratulations – A winning pair
    We look forward to 3 constructive years.

  2. Sridhar Ekambaram, 25. October 2013, 14:28

    Definitely a lot more cohesive council this time. If Celia had such a council in her first term, we would have seen a lot more positive results.