Market joins Wellington's night scene

SOPHIE SPEER
CULTURE AND CAPITAL DAY REPORTER
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2012
Leftbank food market
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

NIGHT MOVE: Lily Kao has set up the Wellington Night Market, in Left Bank Arcade off Cuba St.

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The bright lights, delicious smells and buzzing atmosphere of night markets so familiar throughout Asia has arrived in Wellington.

The Wellington Night Market, in Left Bank Arcade off Cuba St, is offering people the chance to experience a variety of foods, shop for jewellery and clothing, and hear live music performed every Friday night.

Organiser Lily Kao, a native of Taiwan who has lived in Wellington for three years, says she wanted to offer a place where people could spend time with their friends as an alternative to going to a restaurant or staying home to watch television.

"Night markets are a prominent thing in Asia. I've noticed a lot of morning markets in Wellington, and I feel a night market would be a good thing."

Popular Wellington morning markets include the Hill Street Farmers' Market and Newtown market every Saturday, and Harbourside and Victoria St markets each Sunday, drawing big crowds of punters every weekend.

Along with food stalls at the night market, a variety of entertainment will be on offer each week, including live bands, cultural dance performances and karaoke, plus stalls selling everything from jewellery and clothing to chocolate, Miss Kao says.

"I wanted to provide something different for people who enjoy live music and authentic food from all over the world."

The market has been running for a month and the number of stallholders and market-goers is on the rise, Miss Kao says.

The first week had about 1300 customers but that has quickly grown to about 5000 last week.

"It's amazing ... I see all these people ... enjoying themselves.

"It gives people a place to go that's new, so I'm very happy."

Food stalls differ each week, with dishes such as spicy Chinese food, vegetarian Indian wraps, French crepes and German sausages among those on offer.

"Wellingtonians like to try new things and, especially in the summer time, like to sit outside and talk."

The arcade offers shelter from the elements, meaning the market can run year round, she says.

"We know it has huge potential. Cuba St has huge foot traffic so we're trying to grab these people to come in. Even in winter time there are still a lot of people coming out."

The Details

The Wellington Night Market runs every Friday from 5pm until about 11pm.

Contact Sophie Speer
Culture and Capital Day reporter
Email: sophie.speer@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @sophie_speer

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- The Dominion Post

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