Editorial: Great to come alive at night

By Roger Moroney

Roger Moroney.
Roger Moroney.

It was in August last year that my wife and I wandered into the heart of Rotorua to check it out during an overnight stay.

It was a week night in the late month of winter so we weren't expecting to come across a great sea of humanity or an oasis of entertainment and hospitable diversity.

Until we came to the blockades.

They were at one end of a stretch of street smack in the heart of the CBD.

It had been closed off, which was a good thing because there were several hundred people milling about with smiles on their faces and clearly oblivious to the slight chill in the air.

There were food stalls all glowing from the fires upon grills within them.

The aromas were extraordinary and the whole scene of bubbling conversation and peaceful wandering was accompanied by some fine live music.

It was unexpected, and one of us said something along the lines of "why don't they have something like this at home?"

It seemed obvious that sparking up an otherwise silent night of the working week was one way of invigorating a city centre, giving people another option from watching some bland cooking show on television.

Better to go and see some real cooking you could taste and buy.

So I was delighted to be dispatched out to the Hastings CBD last Thursday evening to file a story about the first of what will be a series of "night markets" staged on the paved pedestrian stretch beside the fountain.

The Hastings City Business Association had seen the market for themselves in Rotorua and decided to adopt it and give it a Hawke's Bay flavour.

So, how was it?

Well, wandering through there just 50 minutes into the planned four-hour duration answered that without a shadow of a doubt.

It was humming.

Absolutely humming.

There were balloons and there was live music. There were aromas and there was happy chatter from clearly happy faces. It was a feelgood occasion with a capital F as the locals, as well as faces I recognised from across the rivers in Napier, embraced it.

The state of the Hastings CBD copped some flak in recent weeks through the untamed idiocy of some of the young and the reckless, but that was but a memory as the great mix of the community just had a fine time on Thursday night.

The sun may have eventually gone down but the brightness was undimmed.

Well done all those who set the stage for it, and Henare, I hope you caught up with that big chunk of licorice, mate.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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