Former customers return as traders as Victoria Park reopens after three-year closure

The rebirth of an old market, once teeming with hippy and bohemian traders and curious customers, has lured three Aucklanders back to Victoria Park where they spent happy times as teenagers.

"In my youth, it was the favourite place to go," recalls Lee Smith, of Snip Snaps children's clothes, who will be among 70 stallholders when the CBD fringe market reopens this weekend after a three-year break.

"It had a cool atmosphere ... lots of shops to look at. You'd spend the whole day there.

"It was a chance to try out different things, foods and stalls, and open your eyes to the world."

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Ms Smith still adores a necklace - an amethyst with a silver dragon around it - she bought at the market more than 20 years ago.

Jewellery designer and maker Jo Eden also has priceless mementos from her teenage days bargain-hunting at the market.

One is a small bottle of perfume labelled Kama Sutra; the other is a sepia-tone picture of her dressed in old-fashioned clothes, taken by a market photographer.

Michael Scott worked at a market stall during one Christmas school holidays.

"It was for an American traveller guy - an old hippy Grateful Dead fan - back in the days when it was profitable for him to pick up cheap jewellery in India and flog it off at the market.

"I've worked in markets over the years selling secondhand curios and antiques and for this one I will be bringing my own collectable stuff.

"It's taxidermy, mounted buffalo horns, animal skulls and small mounted skeletons, pieces of jewellery made out of coyote claws."

Mr Scott said a market offered traders a chance to catch the eye of a lot of people.

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"Traders sell online as well but they realise that even with online shopping people still like to go out, get something to eat and pick up a bargain."

The market will be held at weekends outside the red brick heritage buildings of Victoria Park where a $20 million revamp included shops, restaurants and offices.

Bayleys retail leasing specialist Leah La Hood said Auckland had a "multitude of competing markets" but more than 70 stall holders were interested in Victoria Park at $30, $50 or $75 a day.

The central city also has the Silo Markets in the Wynyard Quarter when it is fine in summer weekends and the City Farmers Market at Britomart on Saturday mornings throughout the year.

Parnell has La Cigale French Market on Saturday and Sunday throughout the year and the Parnell Farmers Market is held outside the Jubilee Buildings in Parnell Rd on Saturday mornings.

Market days
• 1980s: Derelict rubbish depot developed for a market opposite Victoria Park.
• 2011: Victoria Park Market's "festival style" scene closes for redevelopment.
• 2013: $20 million revamp creates 80 shops within Victoria Park heritage precinct.
• 2014: November 15 - weekend outdoor Victoria Park Market to reopen for trading, with 70 stalls offering street food, arts and crafts and health products.