Ōtaki Market Team - 2023 Volunteer Story Comp

Ōtaki Market Team, Chrissy Anderson, Michelle Vui and Claire Roper.

Covid-19 had a significant impact on the Otaki Market, and with a downturn of stall holders and community support it was in danger of closing 12 months ago. The Ōtaki Women’s Community Club took up the challenge to revitalise the market back to its glory days.

The new market team have grown the market from an average of 19 stalls to a minimum of 35-40 stalls per week. Every week in the summer they give up their Sunday's to manage the market (Fortnightly in the winter). The team work tirelessly behind the scenes promoting the market, contacting new stall holders, and reconnecting with stall holders. Creating an awesome calendar of events, with prizes generously provided by local businesses.

They introduced the Kids Market (held during school holidays). Supporting local tamariki and rangatahi with four dedicated kid's markets throughout the year, giving 50-60 young people the opportunity to find their entrepreneurial spirit and run their own stall at the Kids Market. From Ōtaki, Levin, Waikane, Wellington, Tawa, Manakau, Raumati, Paraparaumu and Foxton.

They introduced child friendly themed markets, including Onesies at One, Halloween Face painting, Bunnings Warehouse Free activity, Face painting, Free Santa's Grotto, activity craft tables, and colouring competitions.

They offer free stalls to local community groups, people fundraising, charities and schools. So far this has included: Local students fundraising for camp or other activities, Blind Low Vision NZ, Soroptimist International Kāpiti, Friends of the Ōtaki Rotunda, Kāpiti Brass Band, Ōtaki Montessori, Rahui Rugby Club juniors, Ōtaki Volunteer Fire Brigade and many more. As a charity there isn’t a huge resource of money to pull from and the market
team think outside the box for funding options. Keeping it digital, they email posters and funds are raised through raffles and competitions.

They have gained amazing media attention with articles in the Ōtaki Mail, NZ Hearld, an interview on NewsTalkZB and even appeared on television, twice! Two TVNZ 1 Breakfast interviews, with an interview with Claire Roper and then another interview with three young people representing the Kids Market with a live interview.

The work Chrissy, Michelle and Claire from the Ōtaki Market have put into the market to grow it to a vibrant local market is awesome. Creating a vibrant and chilled out market for locals and visitors to enjoy. It's a true asset to Ōtaki.