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Ōtaki Yard was supposed to launch earlier this year on Saturday, March the 21st, but due to the Coronavirus restrictions, the Government put on events, having no more than 100 people during COVID-19 lockdown levels four, three and two suspending the Ōtaki Yard launch date.
Otaki Yard from previous statements (March the 25th): “We have decided to postpone the Ōtaki Yard market until we get a directive from the Government to reopen.”
With quick thinking, as soon as level 1 lockdown was announced, the new date was set for Saturday, June the 13th.
With generous promotions from many media outlets getting the event known, it also sparked controversy from NewsHub, giving the Ōtaki Yard a bad reputation; in a news article a day before their launch.
NewsHub published in an article that Otaki has a steep decline in the number of locally-owned shops for the last few years. It has mentioned that most of the shops are empty on State Highway 1. That’s because there has been a drop off of customers caused by consumer confidence and dependence. Another factor is the traffic troubles.
“We aim to attract strong individual traders offering unique items rather than just national multiples, both in our shops and in the market, as this will attract more people to the town, particularly from Wellington, as well as making it the place to go to on the Kapiti Coast for food & produce,” said Ōtaki Yard in a statement.
Matt Innes, site manager of the Ōtaki Yard was very excited to have so much support from locals on their launch day (June the 13th) — “Just look at it, it’s so amazing to see all these local small businesses that have come together and just got their products on display, and it’s really good community vibes around here.”
“Originally, we were planning on opening on March the 21st but obviously because of COVID, that had to be postponed, and we were fortunate to have gone down into level 1, so we don’t have to have the social distancing, contact tracing, etc. That would have been quite hard in terms of regulating that on the site.”
“We had about eight weeks lead uptime, and we got the majority of stalls signed up and probably two weeks to go, and then we had a few latecomers who jumped on the bus and realized it’s going to be a good ride!”
The Ōtaki Yard has got produce, fresh vegetables, free-range eggs, baked goods, cheese, salami, meats, flowers, soaps (chemical-free) shampoos, clothing art, and much much more.
“What don’t we have!” Matt Innes, site manager of the Ōtaki Yard, said.
Our reporter asked Matt Innes on how many stallholders are local:
“Everyone bar one, who is a family friend of mine that’s come and made the trip down from north of Auckland, Matakana (Town in the North Island.)”
Charlotte Claasen, selling certified organics, including vegetables, micro-greens, and seedlings at the Ōtaki Yard market, has her say on why the market has excellent potential for localism.
“Organics are good because they have fewer chemicals for our earth, bodies, and we need to be a lot more conscious about how the food gets to us and what it means for the earth what it means for the people.”
“Beautiful feedback, everybody’s really happy. Everybody is smiling. Yeah, I think everyone is happy to come together as a community again, which is really important,” said Charlotte Claasen.
Alistair Murchie attended the event with his Whānau at the Ōtaki Yard. He enjoyed expressing his feelings since the Coronavirus lockdown started and ended, but is joyful to be out with his family & other people.
“Kia ora, just here in Ōtaki on this beautiful day with my family, my wife and children, and the new market, loving it! It’s beautiful; it’s wonderful to see people altogether without the rediculous restrictions we’ve been under for the last two to three months. We’ve been kept separate and been unable to interact with other people in the community.”
“This is beautiful, and this has to be a human, this is who we are. ātaahua, ātaahua (beautiful) – and yeah, it’s great to see the local people being able to bring their produce in, and people can support the local community. That’s what we’re all about. Local people, supporting local people and enjoying each other’s company. Kia ora tātou (Hello everyone)”
Alistair Murchie’s wife says, “Ōtaki Yard has been a great idea! a great way to get the community together, and the produce is great, and we’re enjoying it!”