Humans of Canungra

Paul Kraayvanger
Paul Kraayvanger. Photo by Katherine O'Brien Photography.

Paul Kraayvanger is one half of the team behind Canungra Hub Cafe.  He and his wife, Shona, also previously owned Canungra Newsagent.  Shona, said she was happy I was interviewing Paul because they were starting to call her the ‘Media Tart’ at work, whereas Paul always seems to avoid the spotlight.

You’re originally from New Zealand, how did you come to move to Australia?

I actually met Shona in Turkey.  We were both travelling around Europe – separately and we bumped into each other in Turkey in a camping ground and had a few drinks that night.

Then about a week later we bumped into each other in Dubrovnik.  Which is really weird because you would never expect that. 

That was before mobile phones?

Oh yeah, this was in the eighties.  It was completely by chance.  Then about two weeks later, we bumped into each other in Venice.

So, that’s the most romantic place in the world and you happen to bump into each other again?

Yes, these meetings were not planned, we just literally bumped into each other.  In Venice, I just walked into a pub there and she was there.  We didn’t know we were travelling to the same places, nothing was planned.  Totally random.

Were there other people you met on that trip like that?

No.

I’m going to cry!  That’s beautiful.

That night in Venice we actually worked out that our paths wouldn’t cross again.  So she was living in England and I was living there too.  We met up again when we got back to England and decided to move to Australia.

Paul
Paul Kraayvanger.
Photo by Katherine
O’Brien Photography.

Had you been to Australia before?

No.

So you purely decided to move to Australia for Shona?

Yes.  Totally (laughs).

That first time you met Shona, was it a case of as soon as you saw her you knew?

Yeah, I think so.  There was an immediate attraction there.

What happened when you moved to Australia?

We moved to Brisbane at the start of the recession.  I couldn’t get work at first so we moved to Sydney and I got work straight away.  We moved back to Brisbane and then here (Canungra).

We had been looking for a business and close friends of ours bought the newsagent on Tamborine Mountain.  About a year later they told us Canungra Newsagent was for sale.  I’d never heard of Canungra.

We arranged to have a look at this newsagent.  We drove into Canungra and by the time we got to the bottom of the hill both of us looked at each other and said “this is where we want to live”.  We hadn’t looked at the business by then.  We knew.

That was 20 years ago, and we are still here.

About Keer Moriarty 62 Articles
Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady with Canungra Times.