PEOPLE told Victoria and Paul De Jonge their idea of a night market in Auckland would fail.
‘‘Even my brother said to me: ‘It’s not going to work’,’’ Mrs De Jonge says.
But the naysayers were wrong. Around 10,000 people go to each of the Pakuranga and Glenfield markets held in undercover car parks each week.
The Auckland Night Markets have proved so successful that this month the Remuera couple will start two new ones at Onehunga Dress-Smart on Thursdays and another at Hunters Plaza in Papatoetoe on Fridays.
The De Jonges owned a restaurant and bar in China for six years before starting the first market at Pakuranga in October 2010.
‘‘In Shanghai we saw this sort of thing all the time but here there’s no nightlife,’’ Mrs De Jonge says.
‘‘People told us Kiwis don’t like to go out on a Saturday, but I said to Paul: ‘No that’s because there’s nowhere for them to go’.’’
She says there are limited things to do at night for young families and teenagers.
‘‘Children just go to movies, there’s nowhere for them to go.’’
Mrs De Jonge knew the experiment was a gamble and stallholders might leave if people did not come – but that was not to be the case.
‘‘After the first night I knew this market would not fail.’’
The Saturday night market has since run weekly and is full to capacity with about 200 stalls.
The Glenfield version sprang up a year later and visitors experience food from all over the globe.
People of diverse ethnicities mingle while listening to live music and browsing a wide range of goods. It is a family-friendly atmosphere with no alcohol.
Mrs De Jonge says security is there if needed but incidents are rare with so many people around.
Stallholders must apply to Auckland Council for a market food licence and the De Jonges require each to have good hygiene, as well as a fire extinguisher.
Vision realised: Street markets were a part of everyday life when Paul De Jonge ran a restaurant and bar in Shanghai with his wife. Now with the success of their two weekly Auckland Night Markets the couple is launching a third and fourth.