Octagon market important venue for tourists and locals

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Since Dunedin joined the cruise ship circuit, stallholders at the Dunedin Octagon Market have played an important role in welcoming passengers.
Disembarking from buses in the Octagon, many cruise ship passengers head straight for the colourful market stalls, which are set up for every visit, weather permitting. On average, 24 to 26 stalls are open, although there can be up to 33 stalls on site.
Dunedin Octagon Market Inc has been operating for the past 23 years, initially opening only on Fridays. When the cruise ships started coming into Port Otago, the market started opening for their visits, president Lorene Rosie said.
“Initially, that meant opening for an extra six days per year, but now we are very busy indeed keeping up with them,” Miss Rosie said.
The Dunedin City Council estimates that in the 2016-17 cruise ship season, the city will be visited by 162,000 passengers and 70,000 crew – a total of 232,000 people.
The Dunedin Octagon Market was a popular attraction among passengers, who were keen on items that were handmade in New Zealand, photography stallholder Elaine Grant-Dolby said.
“We also act as a good point of contact for the passengers. We point out a lot of things for them and help them to find their way,” she said.
“As local people, we have a lot of local knowledge to share.”
Miss Rosie, who operates a gemstone jewellery stall, said the market included artisans from the wider Otago region.
“The market is very well received by the visitors. They really like the variety we offer,” she said.
“And we can be a good meeting point for them when they are out and about in town.”
In addition to opening for cruise ship visits, the Dunedin Octagon Market is open on the first Friday of every month, from October to April, for local shoppers.