Joss Lamers & Kees Peters
Dutch-born Joss Lamers and Kees Peters arrived in New Zealand in 1990. After a reconnaissance trip of six weeks they decided to settle in Napier and start what was to become a very extensive hospitality career. Joss and Kees are well known for their career achievements and first made their name with Bayswater Restaurant, a fine-dining restaurant in Napier.
They have operated several businesses since, including Cornucopia Lodge in Eskdale, Hearty (a soup restaurant) in Wellington, ZiggZagg cafe Napier and what was at the time the only Indonesian Restaurant in New Zealand: Restaurant Indonesia.
Why did you move to New Zealand?
(Joss) Kees had previously looked into emigrating to New Zealand however that was put on hold for a bit. During a holiday on Dutch island Texel Kees mentioned it again and convinced me to take a trip to New Zealand. After that trip we decided that we would give New Zealand a go. Our plan was to try things out for two years and if one of us didn’t like it, we would go back. We’re still here.
Did you find the move challenging?
(Joss) I did get homesick in the first year but I’ve been able to go back to the Netherlands almost every year. Slowly over time, I realised that I missed Holland less and less. My parents have sadly passed away now, but it does mean that I have even less of a pull to go back now.
You’ve done so many things in New Zealand, do you think being Dutch has had an influence on that?
(Joss) We have adventurous spirits, especially Kees. I think that might be part of our Dutch blood. Dutch people in general are hardworking people and when we do something we give it 100%. Most importantly, I think we are very strong as a couple. We combine our knowledge of the business and are a real unit together.
What are you most proud of?
One of our proudest achievements was the Bayswater Restaurant. We made that place really special and introduced a beautiful fine-dining experience. To this day people still remember that name.