New Lynn Night Market, the only night market with Auckland Council backing, is closing for good.
The weekly market - which has been running since 2013 - is a council initiative set up to provide affordable and friendly food and entertainment, and designed to showcase the cultural diversity of the area.
In its heyday the market used to attract hundreds of visitors with live entertainment that includes bands and magicians, and up to thirty food and craft stalls.
Last night, just three food stalls remained and fewer than 20 customers turned up at the New Lynn Community Centre site during the hour or so the Herald was there.
Whau Local Board chair Tracy Mulholland confirmed yesterday that next Thursday, June 29, will be the last time the market will run.
"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, had declined significantly over the last year," Mulholland said.
"We always have to ensure that we are spending ratepayers' money in the best way possible, so the difficult situation was made to no longer fund the night market."
The market was originally funded via a council regional budget, but received its funding through the Whau board since 2014.
"It was intended to activate the New Lynn town centre and become a popular local event celebrating the diverse communities within the Whau," said Mulholland.
"Funding has always been dependent on its success."
Deputy chair Susan Zhu said the board had invested a "significant amount" in paying for stallholders to get appropriate certifications, employing a part-time market co-ordinator and traffic management.
"Unfortunately, the New Lynn night market has not attracted enough customers each event despite the best efforts of those involved," Zhu said.
The WISE collective, a social enterprise project based within the Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS) that helps women from refugee backgrounds, has been involved with the market from the very start.
The group has used the market to help former refugee families to set up their own stallholder business and learn their trade in a co-operative environment.
It had four stalls run by women at the market over the past four years, selling ethnic cuisine from the countries they came from.
Spokeswoman Shoma Prasad said new restaurants in the town centre provided "some tough competition" for the night market.
"Other factors such as flooding and roadworks has also resulted in a significant decline in the number of people going to the market, as well as vendors," Prasad said.
Ethiopian food stall operator Bekelch Robie, 54, who has been involved since the start, said she was sad to see it go.
"It is like a baby, we have seen it grow, and now I feel very sad to see it die," Robie said.
"The market has given me a way to make some money, and I pray to God and see where he will lead me next."
Sian Tai Thul, 45, who runs a stall selling Burmese food, said he had happy memories of the three years he has been with the market.
"For my wife especially, the market is where she is able to open up and speak to people," he said.
Filipino food stall operator Florencio Caupit said he had many regular customers, and some had become "like friends".
Gloria Smith, a New Lynn resident and a regular visitor to the market, said the market offered "something special" to the neighbourhood.
"It is indeed a shock to hear that the market won't be here anymore, it's a shame really," she said.