Mar­ket reins passed on

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS - By ROSALIE WIL­LIS

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.

PHOTO: ROSALIE WIL­LIS

Steve and Sher­ryl Gray have been run­ning the Otaki ¯ Com­mu­nity Club Mar­ket for more than 20 years.

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