Market reins passed on
The O¯ taki Community Club Market's reins have been handed over after more than 20 years of being run by Sherryl and Steve Gray on behalf of the O¯ taki Women's Community Club.
The outdoor market on
Main Highway opposite New World in O¯ taki operates every Sunday in summer and the first and third Sundays of each month during the winter season.
Started by the Otaki ¯ Lioness Club before it became the O¯ taki Women's Community Club, the markets have been going since November 1996.
As the longest running markets in Ka¯ piti, Sherryl and Steve have been up with the birds every Sunday for the past 20 plus years directing stall holders, collecting money and helping stall owners set up.
Not only have they volunteered their time, but they have helped raise money for the club which has given thousands of dollars to different groups and individuals within the community.
“We've done it for the love of it and the community,” Steve said.
“You make friends with all the stall holders over the years and you become very close friends with them.”
“We did it for the club, we never did it for us,” Sherryl said.
Not wanting to double up too much on stalls, the couple have been faithful to their local stall holders by giving priority to their regulars and have honoured handshakes made with original stall holders for years.
“The original people who started selling vegetables were an old family in O¯ taki that started with a granddad who used to wheel down his wheelbarrow,” Steve said.
“It was on Sherryl's word ‘you will be the only one selling vegetables' and they had two stalls worth of vegetables — all their own ones.
“They had to give up a couple of years ago but he said ‘oh my cousin will come' so now he is and the vegetables we have are still locally grown in O¯ taki.
“We like to have local stuff, we're like a big family.”
The money raised from the market goes into the club's project account and gets dispersed through the community with between $8000-$15000 given to a variety of things such as O¯ taki College scholarships, O¯ taki food bank and St John health shuttle.
“We'll miss the people but it's good that the markets have being taken over by someone else,” Sherryl said.
Over the past year the reins have slowly been handed over to Georgie George and her husband.
With the smooth transition now complete, Sherryl and Steve are hoping to have some well-earned sleep-ins on Sunday mornings.
Steve and Sherryl Gray have been running the Otaki ¯ Community Club Market for more than 20 years.