The Otara Markets began in the car park behind the Otara Town Centre and was operated by the Hunua Labour Electorate Committee.
In 1976, Te Puke o Tara Community Centre added an indoor dimension to the existing Market as a means of fundraising for the centre.
In 1981, the Hunua Labour Electorate Committee formed a partnership with Te Puke o Tara Incorporated Society and the ‘Otara United Fleamarket Committee’ was created.
The Market continued to operate every Saturday but not without problems. The Fleamarket organisers were challenged by the Otara Town Centre retailer’s claims of the uncontrolled growth of the Market was choking their businesses in addition to litter and parking problems.
Intervention by Manukau City Council determined the Market was operating unlawfully and Fleamarket organisers were faced with legal action because it was operating on a reserve without consent.
Eventually, Fleamarket organisers were granted resource consent with specific conditions relating to litter, signage, food hygiene, operating times and size.
In 2008, the Market applied to expand the existing Market operation for a further 106 car park spaces including 11 on Watford Street and space inside Te Puke o Tara Community Hall. These additions meant that stalls once occupied Newbury Street grass island were relocated into the car park.
Nonetheless, the Otara Market continues to be a venue of social interaction and a source of much-needed funds for community purposes.
The Otara United Fleamarket Committee is responsible for all the operational functions of the Market and employs one full time and 18 part-time workers.
Otara Markets Partnership Limited:
Current members as at 1st January 2015
Dennis Gush (Otara Labour Party) – Chairman
Murray Cotter (Otara Labour Party)
Losa Moata’ane (Otara Labour Party)
Bruce George (Te Puke o Tara Inc) – Co-Chairman
Mary Gush (Te Puke o Tara Inc)
Tupou Manapori (Te Puke o Tara Inc)