The Far North community of Towai hopes that a new weekend market being launched on Sunday 8 November will put its local artisans on the retail and tourist map.
Stallholders will include Russell Carter, a coffin maker who also sells unique wooden bowls made from off-cuts of timber he uses for his coffins. Resident baker, Carol Summer, will be selling her goods. She specialises in sweet treats and options created for those with food allergies and intolerances.
The initiative is part of a post-COVID drive to revitalise the local economy, build social connections and attract more visitors to the area.
Local resident and market organiser, Kerry Gelmi, says the aim is to get the whole community involved. "We felt confident this was a way to re-energise Towai and create a sense of connection and community. It will be a unique, quirky market, much like Towai itself. There will also be free workshops - it is a maker’s market after all."
The success of other local markets, such as the Bay of Islands and Kaitaia Farmer’s Markets, and the Matakana Market near Warkworth, helped inspire the project. Ms Gelmi says these markets demonstrate how community-run events can play a vital role in promoting a district’s economic recovery and boost social wellbeing. Gravity Internet is supporting the project by providing the market venue with free internet.
The market project is part of a community plan initially developed by the Towai and Maromaku communities in 2019 with support from the Far North District Council’s Community Development Team. Establishing the market became a priority in response to hardships experienced following last summer’s drought and then the pandemic lockdown.
Mayor John Carter says the Council is focused on promoting the economic recovery of the district. "We have won unprecedented levels of Government funding for infrastructure and recovery projects that are already having a positive impact on our communities. Just as important is providing support for grassroots community efforts like the Makers Market at Towai. These projects often provide benefits far in excess of initial capital investment and I wish the Towai and Maromaku communities well."
The Towai Makers’ Market will be held monthly, every second Sunday, from 2pm to 6pm at the Towai Hall, 32 Towai Road, Towai. As well as local craft stalls, food and drink will be available.
Market organisers are keen for more stallholders to participate. Go to the Makers Market website for contact details.