A weekly Rotorua Farmers' Market is to operate out of the former City Focus site, which the council says will complement the city's existing markets.

Rotorua Lakes Council is to spend $120,000 on setting up the Sunday market, which will be launched in October during the annual tulip festival.

According to the council, it will be different to existing markets, with a focus on locally grown produce and pantry items, "demonstrating the concept of manaakitanga (hospitality and sharing) with a distinctly Rotorua flavour".

The initial set-up cost will include construction of wooden stalls for produce display, with annual operating costs expected to be $80,000.


The council's expectation is the market will become self-funding and break even within four years as a result of revenue from stallholders.

One-off stalls will be available for community groups and it is envisaged there will be kitchen demonstrations.

The stalls will be wooden carts made locally from locally sourced timber with 20 to 30 available in the first year.

The council's Sustainable Living portfolio leader, councillor Janet Wepa, said the market would have the support of local gardeners who had already established a local food network.

"It was something that came up during portfolio consultation last year with the people involved in the food network - which includes organic gardeners, groups involved with community gardeners and individuals," Mrs Wepa said.

"They saw a farmers' market as providing an opportunity to share their produce and skills with the wider community and contributing to increasing our community's sustainable living capabilities."

Colin Hayes of Bespoke Joinery is building prototype carts for the new Farmers' Market. Photo / Ben Fraser
Colin Hayes of Bespoke Joinery is building prototype carts for the new Farmers' Market. Photo / Ben Fraser

The Rotorua Night Market on Thursdays, which has been going since 2010, has gone from strength to strength, becoming a popular weekly destination. while Rotary's Saturday morning market offers a mix of fresh produce, crafts, secondhand goods and mainly cooked food.

Inner City Revitalisation portfolio leader councillor Karen Hunt said the farmers' market, in its central location, would complement other markets and "add to the activity and vibrancy in the central city".

"I know it will have the support of some night market stallholders who were asking for a different offering."

Ms Hunt said she was confident the market would work.

"The location is very visible with plenty of foot traffic and markets are a popular trend.

"Care has been taken to ensure this doesn't compete with any other local markets and I think it will provide additional interest for both locals and visitors."

No plastic bags will be used and there will be a goal for the market to become waste-free.

She said initial costs would come out of the council's Inner City Revitalisation budget allocated in the Long-term Plan.

Salon St Bruno manager Marie Farquhar said the salon would consider opening on Sundays if the market was popular.

"It's also nice to see a buzz around town and I think we need something like that in that space."

Crossroads store manager Vanessa Williams said she thought it was a great idea.

Her store is open on Sundays from 10am to 3.30pm, but she said it would be a bonus getting more foot traffic in the area.

"I think a lot of out-of-towners would love to see a farmers' market and it's definitely something I would be interested in."

Organisers of the Kuirau Park Rotary Market could not be reached for comment.

Rotorua Farmers' Market:

• Run by the Rotorua Lakes Council
• Open in October in the former City Focus
• Will cost $120,000 to set up
• An additional $80,000 in operational costs
• Every Sunday