Fish and Chip Shop “saves” family  


The ‘bishop’s burger’ is a favourite on the menu among the locals in Gisborne.

Named after owner Neville Hales, who is the bishop of the Te Hapara Ward, they sell about 30 of the creamy steak and mushroom burgers every night.

You could say “business is pumping” for the London Street fish shop, run by Neville and Macsyna and their three children Kzchian, Nikora, and Shane.

Two months ago, it was quite the different picture.

Neville was a tradesman but “his feet had become so broken in his trade that if he carried on, he would have to get artificial limbs or be in a wheelchair.”

Macsyna was a chef at a restaurant, but she lost her job.

“On my last shift, I remember taking my uniform off, going into my room and crying my eyes out,' Macsyna said. 

“My job was terminated and I was like, ‘that’s it!’' 

'I poured my heart to God. I told Him I was sick of working hard for others and getting let down. I was spending 70-80 hours at work and hardly seeing my family. I was ready to start my own business. I asked Him, can you help shape the way?

'A week later, an acquaintance from a different faith, called me. I had only met her once but she called me because my name kept popping up in her head.

“She told me, ‘for some reason I felt you were the one I needed to ask to buy our fish and chip shop’.”

“I told her we didn’t have the money to buy her business but she told me she would allow me to take over the business and pay her overtime. I cried.”

The Hale’s lives changed when they joined the church five years ago.

Macsyna’s brother is a member of the Church and she remembers he and his wife, “didn't preach the gospel to us… they kind of just lived it. But there was always something different about them.”

“One day my husband I were like, okay we tried life our way and heaps of other ways and it didn't work. So we thought, maybe we should give it a go. We spoke to our son... and told him we are going to change our lives.”

“I had addictions, failed relationships… both my husband and I had tough upbringings. But we can now see the clear contrast between our life before and our life now. We now have light and goodness.”

Neville said people are often surprised he is the bishop because he has tattoos on his arms from before he joined the Church.

“The gospel has blessed us immensely. It's a huge change for all of us as a family. We had no idea what was coming our way. We were just willing and our hearts were receptive to change,” Neville said.

“Our family has found something amazing… and now this business is drawing our family closing together.”

But running a business doesn't come without its difficulties, Macsyna said.

“I’ve run kitchens before, but I'm really learning how to communicate. Money, product services… they are not as important as looking out for others.”

In the last two months, Neville and Macsyna have employed young people who are saving for missions or just simply looking for a job.

“We have so many kids coming through, we try and mentor and help them… you don’t know the influence you can have on people. We always have customers saying, you guys are always smiling! They ask us our secret, we tell them ‘you see those good folks with the badges on? They have the secret for you’.”

Macsyna hopes her story will help inspire those who are looking to become more self-reliant.

“If you're afraid of going into business, you have to remind yourself Heavenly Father has faith in you.

“The scriptures talk about arousing our faculties. Use your skills and talents. To be honest, I didn't think I would ever have my own fish and chips business. But you need to have faith and trust in the Lord. This business… it saved our lives.”