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 organiser’s 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 organiser’s 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 Manager and 24 part-time workers.
Otara United Fleamarket Committee Members
The current Committee as at 30 June 2010:
William Ropata – Co-Chairman (Te Puke o Tara delegate)
Mary Gush (Te Puke o Tara delegate)
Poutoa Papali’i (Te Puke o Tara delegate)
Graham Stewart – Co Chairman (New Zealand Labour Party delegate)
Yvonne Matson (New Zealand Labour Party delegate)
Dennis Gush – Acting Co-Chairman (New Zealand Labour Party delegate)
Efu Koka (New Zealand Labour Party delegate)