Thirty years ago a market popped up in a supermarket car park on a Saturday morning. Now that market is the "place to be" on a Saturday.

The Rotorua North Rotary Market is now based at Kuirau Park and is marking its 30th birthday this weekend.

Market director Garry Adlam has been involved for 21 years and said it had been successful because of the people.

"It's a group of businesspeople in Rotorua passionate about their community and who want to give something back," Adlam said.

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"The people know the money they pay for the stalls goes back into the community.

"I think it's the place to be on a Saturday."

The market has been based at Kuirau Park since 2008 but started in the car park of a Woolworths supermarket where the Novotel now stands.

Julie Schwartfeger's mother Nola Rikaheke was a stallholder at the market when it first began and now she comes almost every week.

Kalani Marsters has been helping at the market for five years. Her father has been going for 15. Photo/Ben Fraser
Kalani Marsters has been helping at the market for five years. Her father has been going for 15. Photo/Ben Fraser

"It's quite a ritual for her," Schwartfeger said.

"She really enjoys the community spirit of it."

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Kalani Marsters has helped run a Pacific Island food stall with her father for the past five years.

"Dad's been coming here for 15 years on behalf of our Cook Island church. We help fundraise for the church," she said.

"[The market is] a tight-knit community, we help each other out and it's a nice buzz being down here.

"He comes here every week and people miss him when he's not here. He's kind of the heart here."

Marsters said all the stallholders had good relationships with each other and were good friends. They also had regular customers each week.

"Our donuts are our biggest seller. If you're not here before 10am, you're a grumpy customer."

Adlam's father Paul is also involved in the market and said the main focus was helping the community. In the past 30 years, Rotary has contributed more than $800,000 to community projects.

"We've done a van for the health centre, provided a horse for riding for the disabled. In 1991 we provided the jaws of life for the local fire brigade."

He said Rotary had also established a good relationship with the Rotorua Lakes Council.

The market's birthday will be marked this weekend with giveaways and prizes, and a central Rotary gazebo at the market.

The proceeds will go to Big Brother, Big Sister.

About the market
- When: Saturday, rain or shine, 7am to 1pm.
- Where: Kuirau Park by the playground, but it could move within the park if a revamp of the park takes place.
- What: About 40 to 50 stalls selling fruit and vegetables, food and coffee, clothing, arts and crafts and more.
- Who: Run by volunteers from Rotorua North Rotary with stall fees going to community projects.
- Results: $800,000 spent on community projects in the past 30 years.