St Paul's Presbyterian Church in Katikati has had to cancel its popular Paddy's Market for the first time in 53 years.
October is the month of the popular church fundraising event, held in an unbroken run through the decades, but Covid-19 has interrupted this continuity.
Market committee chairman Graeme Wallis says the market is an important social event for Katikati's community.
''Today, market day requires the church organising committee to find more than 45 volunteers to help on the day. Last year we had over 200 people waiting to get in at opening time.
Due to the uncertainty Covid-19 has imposed on the staging of such an event for a large crowd, the market day is off this year.
This is not the end of the market, though. The market committee are taking a ''wait and see'' approach for the future.
''Only God knows what our future will be. There is one thing I know for sure. What began as an idea to raise funds to support the building of a church here in Katikati by seven woman will not die because of Covid-19.''
Graeme would like to thank all who have supported, encouraged and contributed to Paddy's Market over the years.
By Graeme Wallis
St Paul's Presbyterian Church
Settlers arriving into Katikati in 1875 were mostly Anglicans among the Presbyterians.
Within a year they had formed a "home church" and became known as The Katikati Presbyterian Church under first minister, Reverend John Mark.
The church's first recorded "bazaar" (fundraiser) took place in October, 1907. Records show this was organised by seven church women with the sole purpose of raising funds to build the first church. They raised £54 ($108 in today's rates). This was a lot of money when the total annual giving for the same year was just £12.
The first church was built on the corner of Main Rd and Mulgan St, where the present-day church stands. Over the next five years these women collected enough funds to clear a substantial amount of the debt for the land and construction.
Membership of the church flourished - and so did the women's efforts. They continued to raise funds for the church and community projects such as children activities, sports and social events. In 1913 they were officially recognised for their contribution and became known as The Ladies Guild.
The next 55 years brought two world wars, the Great Depression and boom times.
Fundraising fell mainly to the church women. Countless fetes or garden parties, bazaars, cake stalls, calf-rearing programmes, firewood chopping and selling and many other enterprises were organised to raise funds.
A fundamental fundraising change
A major change occurred in 1968, when church member David Noble and other members came up with the idea to hold an annual church fair as a fundraising event.
In the past, the Aongatete and Katikati Ladies Guilds did their separate fundraising over the entire year. It was proposed that both Ladies Guilds should combine for a single one-day event under the new name "Paddy's Market".
The name came about when David was chatting with Bert Orange, then Minister of St Paul's Church. David had seen a cartoon picture of a man carrying a pig in a basket, and suggested "Paddy's Market" would be a catchy name for the fair.
Paddy's Market 53 years on
For the next 46 years Paddy's Market was held each October in the Katikati War Memorial Hall.
The annual market became a major local event and crowds would form long before opening time.
For the past seven years the market day has been held in the church's new premises. The change of venue gave the public the opportunity to see the new, modern facility. Graeme says it has brought change in what offerings are presented for sale, and how they are presented.
''There is less demand for second-hand household items, and a stronger demand for more craft items and homemade food items. New technology has had its impact with the likes of Trade Me, By Sell & Exchange etc. We are constantly seeking feedback from our market attendees as to how we can do things better and what items they are seeking to find at a Paddy's Market.''
Graeme says the church has evolved through its 113 years. There are Christian missions to India and Nepal; classrooms have been built for a school in Vanuatu; and it has helped with medical and school materials after Cyclone Pam hit many Pacific islands. The church support local groups and organisations ''in building a better community here in Katikati".