“A big part of my life is the market. It’s coming up to 14 years (as Manager). We have our own community out here with everyone that comes in. It’s changed a lot. We’ve been through two earthquakes; the shootings; all sorts of things. COVID. Everything that can be thrown at us really.

A lot of artisans left the city immediately after the earthquakes because they felt they weren’t as creative as they used to be. Some have come back and we’ve got new ones that have come in. So that was really interesting. And then, of course, after the city was red-zoned we had a lot of businesses out here until they could find new business homes for themselves, so the market changed a lot then too.

The Riccarton Market is owned by the Riccarton Rotary Charitable Trust. I’m paid and there are three other staff paid, but all the rest are volunteers. A couple of the Rotary clubs are still quite blokey however in the Riccarton Rotary club, we’ve actually got a female president at the moment. Even the guys will say to us, oh you’re more organized and get things done. I’ll leave it at that!

I love talking to and meeting people, and particularly now, Christchurch is very multicultural. There’s a lot more people from different countries that bring their national art with them or food, so this just makes the market a really interesting place.

I paint myself, so I’m always keen on what other people are making, and I appreciate the creativity behind it.

There’s a few of the old original people around the market. Albany – he sells second hand collectables and he’s been here well over 30 years. He just moved with us every time we moved. For stallholders it’s a way of life and they like the community and the companionship that is out here. They all look after each other and have become friends, extended family.

If there’s a good band playing, people come out, they bring their picnic blanket, and they sit down with their family. The kids get up and dance, everyone’s having a good time. So that’s a great day for me.”

– Sue

Charity registration number: CC57701