Children now have the chance to run their own stalls at the Ōtaki Market.
The market is held every week during summer and fortnightly during winter.
It was started in 1996 by Sherryl Gray and today is run by a small team made up of Claire Roper, Chrissy Anderson and Michelle Vui.
The market is overseen by the Ōtaki Woman’s Club and has space for 52 stalls.
It is the longest running market on the Kāpiti Coast, and Roper said it is an iconic part of the community.
Stallholders come from all over the area, with people coming from Taihape, Wellington, and along the Kāpiti Coast.
Over the Christmas season the Ōtaki Market team wanted to find a unique activity for the market, and realised that none of the local markets in the area offered a children’s market.
They are also planning to introduce more food trucks, craft stalls, and competitions.
Roper said she wants to make the market more family-friendly, and by allowing children to participate in stallholding they are promoting more of a whanau focus.
The first children’s market was introduced on January 8 and there were about 40 registrations with about 30 children who turned up on the day.
“We were pretty overwhelmed by the amount of interest,” Roper said.
A highlight of the day was Ōtaki MP Terisa Ngobi and National’s Ōtaki electorate candidate Tim Costley manning the facepainting stall.
There was a huge variety in the things the children were selling.
Some were selling their second-hand toys and some were selling hand-made items like reusable sandwich bags, soaps, home baking and earrings.
“They were all so creative,” Roper said.
James Stent, a young musician from Ōtaki, was busking at the market.
The youngest stallholder was Sadea Frost who created her patterned T-shirts to sell.
Frost drew her designs on with a fabric pen and they were available in both children’s and adult sizes.
She said she liked that there were kids there like her and she enjoyed all the treats at the market.
Another young stallholder was Carys Ferguson, 12, who creates her own bookmarks and sells them on her Facebook page Brighten my Book.
“I really enjoyed the kids’ market. It was great that the organisers decided to include us because there are so many clever and creative kids who love sharing what they make.”
Roper said there were so many benefits of the children’s market, including teaching them money management skills and encouraging creativity.
Usually, there is a $10 charge for having a stall at the market, but the children are only asked for a koha.
Roper said children donated anything from 50c to $5 depending on their sales for the day.
Due to the success of the children’s market, they plan on running it every school holiday.