A market which draws in both locals and tourists with its vibrancy and tasty morsels celebrated its 10th birthday this week.
Rotorua Lakes Council manager Markets and Festivals Brigitte Nelson says the Rotorua Night Market was created to add vibrancy and life in the heart of Rotorua.
Rotorua Lakes Council worked alongside the Heart of Tūtānekai Group to develop the market with inspiration gathered from all around the world.
She says with three months to prepare, the first Rotorua Night Market opened on March 6, 2010, with 24 stall holders and taking up one block of Tūtānekai Street (between Haupapa and Pukuatua Sts).
With a busy summer ahead and with the market at full capacity, the decision was made to extend the market to cover two blocks in November 2015.
With the market stretching from Haupapa St to Hinemoa St, the ability to provide more stallholder sites matched with seating, tables, activities and entertainment meant more people were coming and staying for longer, she says.
Today the market averages more than 65 stall holders each week over the peak summer season.
The Rotorua Night Market celebrated its 10th birthday with the community at yesterday'smarket.
It held a special market full of entertainment, activities for children, dancers from the Aotearoa Cuban Festival and birthday cake.
"Reaching this milestone makes you reflect on how hard so many people work each week to keep this market hopping."
Brigitte says the market operations team and VR Security work long hours to set up and pack down the market, stallholders turn up week after week and local performers entertain the crowds.
She says behind the scenes there is a great team providing marketing, admin and maintenance, "and of course a market wouldn't be anything without our locals and visitors coming down, some every week, to enjoy the atmosphere and support our vendors".
Brigitte says highlights have included hosting countless cultural groups over the years who celebrate and share their festivals and traditions with the community.
"They light up the market with traditional music, dance, food and storytelling.
"The cultural calendar includes so many great events - Diwali, Chinese New Year, Filipino Festival just to name a few.
"And festival or not, each week market goers get to enjoy cuisines from all around the world thanks to our outstanding vendors from Japan, Thailand, Korea, Spain, China, Philippines, South Africa, Italy and more."
When asked what the best thing is about putting on this market each week, Brigitte says it's the fact that it is a real community, both within all the vendors and operations team and with the regular market visitors.
"I love seeing small family businesses succeed. We have had many new migrant families that started at the market and really found a place for themselves within the market family."
She says the Rotorua Night Market has many loyal stallholders who have stayed with them from the beginning, including Guidoughs Bakery, Rosco's Coffee, New Zealand Crepes, Mussel Madness, Amazing Thai, Himalayan NZ, Treats, Woodcraft and Uno World.
"Guido now owns two baking premises as well as attending both the Night Market and Farmers Market each week – a fantastic success story."
The market received the Excellence in Event Hospitality Award at the 2018 Rotorua Hospitality Awards, Brigitte says.
She says they are extending the canopy of lights to cover Tūtānekai St between Pukuatua and Hinemoa Sts, matching what is already in place from Haupapa to Pukuatua Sts.
"Our wonderful Night Market sponsors Unison have just funded new branded tents so the market is going into its 10th year looking very smart.
"With the additional space now available within Te Manawa we have the flexibility to provide extra space for special events and activities."