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Market fights hunger

DENISE PIPER
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2010

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Whangarei Leader

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THE desperation of people who steal food has helped inspire a new market in Otangarei.

The Friday night event has gained in popularity since starting last month and is now run weekly instead of fortnightly.

It is run by Te Kotahitanga O Otangarei Marae to support the community and help people make some money.

Marae treasurer Patrick Te Tai says the idea came about after police told marae executives that food was being stolen in the suburb.

"When people burgle houses around Otangarei they're not taking their valuables, they're taking their food.

"I thought that's sad – people are hungry out there – that's just crazy."

The market is a way for people to make some cash for themselves and a chance for people to get a deal and buy some good food.

Patrick says food goes quickly from the marae's stall and small plates are given away to local kids with no money.

Residents also sell homemade Maori bread and cakes which are also popular.

Other stalls are a chance for people to sell their old clothes and old toys, or handmade items like flax weaving and homemade soap.

The stallholders love it, Patrick says.

"They're not going to make big money out of it, they're just going to make some for themselves.

"One lady made $95 just for her.

"We said to them to make sure their prices are affordable for the people who are going to buy it here," he says.

The marae charges a small stall fee to cover the costs of running the market.

Patrick believes it is the only marae in the country to run such an initiative.

"We're opening it up to the community to make some money for themselves and feed the community, feed the kids," he says.

The market also gives people something to do on Friday nights and keep out of trouble.

"The whole community gets together to talk about things and share stories," he says.

The market is held at Te Kotahitanga O Otangerei Marae, William Jones Drive, Otangarei, from 4pm to 7pm on Fridays.

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- Whangarei Leader

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