Plant-based café owner forced to close over not serving animal products

A Mangawhai vegan cafe is closing down due to dairy defiance. 

For two years, Morgan Redfern-Hardisty has been running Cool Beans Café, a container café at the community funded Mangawhai Activity Zone.

Cool Beans Café stopped serving dairy milk, but has been told it will be forced to close if it isn't added back onto the menu.  A clause in his contract has been added to say he must serve dairy. 

"If I don't comply to the sale of dairy and non-dairy products then I am unable to continue, that's where it ends for me," says café owner Morgan Redfern-Hardisty.

The owner says the cafe has been operating at the Mangawhai Activity Zone for more than two years.

The space includes a skatepark, children's playground, court, flying fox, bike tracks and walking tracks.

For personal reasons, he decided to change to a full vegan menu earlier this year, and says business has "never been better". 

"My intentions purely was to reduce the cafe's impact on the environment and provide healthy alternative to not use and exploit animals in any way," says Redfern-Hardisty.

"I'm not catering to everyone's taste but when it comes to taste or suffering - it's not worth it." 

An online petition to keep the cafe has received almost 3000 signatures in support, calling for the Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ) to reverse their decision.

"MAZ have chosen to ignore the long list of help, positive impacts and awareness that Morgan has provided them solely to cater for their own moral outlook on a subject that has no bearing or significant consequence on what the purpose of MAZ is supposed to be," the petition says.

"We, the community of Mangawhai, those of us who use MAZ's facilities every day or every weekend, those of us whose kids thrive in this space and those of us who have donated our money, time, resources, knowledge and vision to MAZ strongly disagree with this decision to remove Morgan from the area and would like Mangawhai Activity Zones committee to reverse this poor decision."

Mr Redfern-Hardisty started up a regular Sunday market at the space, and shaved off his long dreadlocks in June to raise almost $1500 for the activity zone.

"His efforts have been bigger than most people's and all for the right reasons," the petition adds. 

Redfern-Hardisty thanked his customers for their support and offered "peace and love" to the community. 

"Keep being conscious of what you consume and we can all make a difference even if some of us fall, most of us will rise," he said.

Redfern-Hardisty's coffee machine will be switched off on Labour Weekend. 

A Mangawhai Activity Zone spokesman has been contacted for comment.