Au revoir to Cafe Tennyson owners

By   Pip   -  April 23 / 2022

Owners of Cafe Tennyson Julien and Sophie Debord have chosen to forgo the opportunity to gain New Zealand residency, sold their business, and are moving back to their home in France.

While we are very disappointed with this result, we fully appreciate their decision and desire to return home to family and friends. Enduring a pandemic without family support on the other side of the world would undoubtedly be very stressful.

We want to acknowledge the many locals who rallied together to support the Debords with letters to the Immigration New Zealand and a petition signed by more than 7300 supporters urging them to grant the family New Zealand residency. I am very proud of our collective voice’s impact, and our influence on the final decision INZ made, which was to grant residency based on a couple of further and final requirements.

There are many people to thank for their support. Firstly local businesswoman Kathryn McGarvey for volunteering her time to create the petition. The petition gained media coverage nationally and was signed by thousands of local, national, and international supporters. Letters were written by Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise, Napier City Councillor Sally Crown, National MP Louise Upston, and Napier City Business Inc Chairman Kim Hooper. These were all included in our joint submission to Immigration NZ. Dr. Elizabeth Kerekere, List MP for the Greens, traveled to Hawke’s Bay to accept the petition and presented it to the house the following week.

Napier MP Hon Stuart Nash and Parliamentary Principal MP Support Cherry Taylor had been supporting the Debords for many months, giving them encouragement and advice along the way to support their application.

We welcome new owners and local hospitality icons Trevor and Valerie to our CBD membership and look forward to supporting their successes from Monday, 2 May.

To the Debord’s, home is where the heart is, and we wish them well and all the very best for the return to their homeland. 

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