Opotiki Community Marketplace

During one of the first Transition Town meetings held in Opotiki we explored actions that we could take to create more resilience in our town.  With the goals of increased self-sufficiency, greater support of our local growers, and providing an economic buffer for home gardeners, the idea was born to create a Local Marketplace.

Farmers’ markets and craft markets represent typical models that both require reasonably intense management.  What we envisioned was something more self-sustaining, something provided free for Opotiki residents and ratepayers, and something that will work whether there is just one person occasionally selling peaches off their tree or 20 people with their produce and crafts.

The marketplace is designed to be an outlet for local home-gardeners, craftspeople and farmers.  In keeping with the spirit of sustainability and the concept of reduce, reuse and recycle, Opotiki people can also try their luck at selling second hand goods of their own.  Without constant management, we hope that anyone flaunting these guidelines will be gently reminded by other stall-holders or shoppers that if they wish to import cheap plastic watches and hawk them on the streets of Opotiki they should pay for a hawker’s license from the Council and find another place to do it.

We have been working cooperatively with the Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust and the Ngaitai Iwi Authority Trust to enable the use of their private land on Church St.  The marketplace is on the gravel area between Ocean Seafoods and the big Blue Shed opposite the Shell petrol station.  Because it is on private property, the marketplace is available to the public because of the combined generosity and community spirit of the Trusts, with the understanding permission can be revoked at any time.

Our proposed model of a self-regulating marketplace with a set of rules and guidelines but no specific overseer was completely new to members and staff of our Council.  We needed to make sure we could work within council regulations governing health and safety, particularly concerning the sale of food and second-hand clothing.  This means that everyone who sells home baking or jams, or kids’ clothes, has the responsibility to make sure they check into the council first to find out exactly what those regulations are. 

Because everything sold needs to be traceable back to the owner, all sellers will need start by filling in a form to register.  We have made this easy by having the forms available at three different locations; and special thanks go to the staff at the Library, the Information Centre and the reception desk at the Council for their enthusiasm and willingness to support this project.  Thanks and gratitude also to Kelly Hughes for his tireless efforts in getting this vision into reality.

The signs are up now, so people are welcome to start using the Opotiki Marketplace.  The official launch and opening will be on Friday March 6th from 4 – 6pm.  It represents more than a year of dedicated effort towards the creation of something that has the potential to help Opotiki become a true Transition Town.  When we support local growing, local eating, local crafts and have a marketplace that is easy for most people to get to without needing to drive then we are well on our way.

Marketplace Rules and Guidelines here (they can also be downloaded in Word document below) 

Food Health and Safety Rules here


Opotiki Market Rules (4).doc47.5 KB