Bruce T Marston, of California, (USA) met Louise in Tahiti while in the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel over 50 years ago. Louise was a native of Tubuai ( Austral Islands, French Polynesia) which is just south of Tahiti. Louise was a descendant of Tahiti Royalty in the lineage of King Tomatoa. They met in Tahiti, fell in love and married. 

They moved to the beautiful island of Kauai and opened a small diner. They became successful and added a small curio shop adjacent to their restaurant. Over the years The Tahiti Nui has had many changes but the on thing that remains constant is the atmosphere of friendliness, service and good food and drink that people from over the world have come to love. Many years later Christian, the son of Bruce and Louise, continues the tradition that both locals and visitors cherish. Don’t miss “da Nui” on your next visit to Kauai and become part of the legend famous the world over “Kicking Back at da Nui!”  

A Hui Hou
Until we meet again

Celebrating 60 Years at The Nui

Tell us a little bit about The Nui, its history and culture, and how you strive to maintain tradition.

How I strive to maintain tradition is that I am constantly thinking about what my grandmother would have wanted, what was her original vision, and what was important to her. We never stray too far from those core elements, and that's always my center in terms of trying to maintain who we are.

Historically and culturally, Tahiti Nui is the gathering place on this half of the island. Music is very much a strong part of Polynesian culture in general, from Hawaii to Tahiti. Music is a very strong piece of all of our family get-togethers and Tahiti Nui is an extension of the family. We have music and we have food, which makes anyone feel at home. It's been that way since the very beginning.

How many years has The Nui been in business?

60 years this year! 1963 is when we opened. 

Growing up, did you ever expect to take on the family restaurant?

Haha! No! Does any child ever plan to take on the family business? We all run as long and as hard as we can until we can't. I was planning on living in Italy. I was never going to move home, but my dad needed help. I came back for what was supposed to be one year promised, and that was 14-15 years ago now.

The business has not always been a positive thing in my family, but I'm happy, honored, and proud to be here. It’s a very important part of my life. I am super committed to continuing my grandma's vision and to the life that Tahiti Nui has already built and lived. Tahiti Nui has its own life, as if its own person.

What are your favorite parts about the job?

After 15 years, it's changed as I’ve changed. Currently, one of my favorite parts about the job
is being able to mentor young people. Pre-covid, we had about 35 employees. Today our crew is at 63 employees, so we’ve doubled in size. I want to help them think bigger. We do a lot of "outside bonding experiences," and we have a coach visiting from Australia right now. My favorite part is trying to inspire these kids to think bigger than the restaurant and the island. That's specifically more for my in-house people, but the community is important because we are the community.

Why is community and tradition important to you? 

Community is important because we've been a part of this community for 60 years, living multi-generationally, in the same place. It's a huge responsibility that we as business owners share. By being a part of such a small space, a small community, it's all of ours. Hanalei Town is ours and we make it what we make it. It's no one else's responsibility, it's ours.

It's super important that we try to educate visitors about us, not just Tahiti Nui but the traditions of all native Hawaiians, Tahitians, and Polynesians. People have lived here for thousands of years. It’s more than just a beautiful place to visit. There’s culture, there’s people, there’s a spirit of the island who've been caretaking and co-existing for a long time. It’s important for visitors to know and to understand. We have a unique opportunity to connect with visitors more than most other residents. It’s a responsibility and privilege to share our traditions.