The New Lynn Night Markets will come to a close this month after three years.
The last market will be held at its usual spot outside the New Lynn Community Centre on the evening of 29 June.
Dwindling attendance at night markets
Whau Local Board has agreed to discontinue funding for the monthly event for a variety of reasons, including dwindling attendance by both attendees and vendors.
“We would like to thank those who have run the night market for the last three years, particularly the Auckland Regional Migrant Services Charitable Trust and EcoMatters – the latter of which made the market a zero-waste event,” Whau Local Board chair Tracy Mulholland says.
The night markets were originally funded via a regional budget that initiated the project in 2013. From 2014 onwards, Whau Local Board provided funding for the markets.
“The board has since reflected on why the night market was originally funded. Most importantly, it was intended to activate the New Lynn town centre and become a popular local event celebrating the diverse communities within the Whau,” Ms Mulholland says.
“The market’s funding has always been dependent on its success, as most events are, and some of the return benefits were to stimulate the local economy and create a sense of community.
“However, despite being held outside our community centre – next to the increasingly busy and popular New Lynn transport centre – the number of people going to the market, as well as vendors, has declined significantly over the last year. We always have to ensure that we are spending ratepayers’ money in the best way possible, so the difficult decision was made to no longer fund the night market,” she says.
New restaurants competing with markets
Added to this is the fact New Lynn has been experiencing incredible investment and growth, with new restaurants regularly popping up across the town centre, providing some tough competition for the night market.
Whau Local Board Deputy Chair Susan Zhu says, “We're absolutely proud of the diverse and vibrant communities in the Whau area. We also value the contributions that local migrant businesses bring to our local economy. The board is committed to continuing its support of our communities, including funding a migrant business programme in partnership with local business associations."
“Whau Local Board has invested a significant amount into the night markets, including paying for the stall holders to get the appropriate certifications, employing a market coordinator for 20 hours a week and paying for traffic management each week due to partial closure of road,” Ms Zhu adds.
“These are all skills the vendors are now able to use in future projects. The markets supported the WISE Collective group with their social enterprise project, which provided training for a group of refugee women. Unfortunately, the New Lynn night market has not attracted enough customers each event despite the best efforts of those involved. Looking ahead, the board is devising the ethnic communities’ plan which we expect to produce options for celebrating the diversity of the Whau.”
Funding for other projects
Whau Local Board provides funding to many events and programmes which celebrate the people and cultures of the area, such as the Whau Pacific Festival, the Whau Arts Festival, the Indian Kite Festival and the Whau Chinese New Year celebration.
“The board is also developing an ethnic communities plan to determine how we can better support minority groups, and we expect further ideas to come from this,” Ms Mulholland says.
The Auckland Regional Migrants Charitable Trust says while the closure of the market is unfortunate, the WISE Collective women will continue with their catering service as well as selling ethnic food at other markets and festivals across Auckland.
“We look forward to working with Whau Local Board on developing their ethnic communities plan,” the trust says.
Find out more
Read the full statement from the trust on their website.