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Going ‘loco’ with caffeine and books

By Hayley Gastmeier
[email protected]

Long-time radio broadcaster Kate Mead has begun a new chapter in her life.

The Featherston resident traded in her microphone for a coffee machine, taking over the town’s tiny cafe Loco earlier this month.

Having worked in broadcasting for the last 30 years, many of those for BBC and Radio New Zealand, Ms Mead’s venture into the hospitality industry is completely new.

She describes the feeling as “jumping off the cliff and trusting that you’ll land feet first”.

But on this fresh path she will include one thing she knows a lot about – books.

Ms Mead, who is director of operations for Featherston Booktown, plans to incorporate a bookshop into the cafe.

Loco cafe is slim and long, situated in Featherston’s retail hub on Fitzherbert St.

And already a significant collection of paperbacks and hardcovers lines one of the walls.

Ms Mead said Loco would “fit in with the historic and cultural richness of the town”.

The business would be “evolving”, with one possibility being to turn the cafe into a “unique Kiwi experience”, which features New Zealand-only literature, art, and music.

“That idea is still on the table but at the end of the day it needs to be an experience that customers require and enjoy. So my ears are open and Loco will be a result of feedback from clients.”

Ms Mead wants to ensure loyal Loco customers that the coffee will be to the same high standard it was before she took ownership over from Emma and Chris Jackson, who are moving to Auckland.

“Emma has mentored and trained me generously and patiently to get the best result for all of us.”

Ms Mead, who until earlier this year was the production manager for RNZ Concert, hasn’t entirely turned her back on the radio world.

She will continue to present sessions on New Zealand classical music, on RNZ National’s Arts on Sunday programme.

She also has plenty of literary events in the pipeline to take place in between now and the next Featherston Booktown (May 12-14, 2017) including one on Sunday at Anzac Hall.

The free event, at 3pm, will feature journalist Karl du Fresne speaking about his new book, A road tour of American song titles.


  1. This gorgeous spot instantly entered my pantheon of favourite bookshops when I drove past looking for a late afternoon coffee last week – fine coffee and some gems of books and CDs. And as it happens I now discover the owner, book connoiseur and barrista par excellence shares my love of broadcasting too.

  2. What a great place!

    The atmosphere created by the aroma of great coffee, great service with a smile and great conversation.
    A home away from home.

    We are very fortunate to have this right here in little old Featherston!

    Thank you Kate for taking this on and helping to grow, maintain and keep Featherston a great place to live.

    Thank you Emma for all the great coffee’s and chats. You will be missed for sure.

    Wish you and Chris all the vest best for your future endeavors.

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