Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Community events heat up ahead of summer

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Bay community groups are driving huge growth in the events sector and "are breaking up the pre-summer slump previously experienced in the Bay", industry leaders say.

Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said there was "much more potential to grow this part of our region's culture".

"There are some fantastic community groups working hard in this sector to really drive events in our area all-year round, which is breaking up the pre-summer slump previously experienced in the Bay. There is certainly room to grow, and in order to do so we need to look at our current infrastructure and venues in order to be able to offer bigger and better events that appeal on a national level."

Social media was also becoming a go-to method of researching and discovering events and this year its website had about 600,000 page views.

"With the rise in smartphone culture, everyone has access to the latest news or the latest events at their fingertips 24-7, which is why it is crucial for us as a tourism organisation to have an up-to-date web and social media presence around what there is to see, do and experience in the region."

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said community events were an important component in the events calendar.

"They add to the vibrancy of the city and enhance our competitive advantages. The economic benefits of events go well beyond the immediate participant, visitor and business experience.

"They increase our competitive advantages and stimulate the economy by bringing in investment, creating jobs and profiling the area as vibrant and contemporary. This has the high level effect of attracting skilled and talented people who want to live here, which in turn attracts businesses that want to employ these people."

Tauranga City Council's event website mytauranga had generated 71,717 page views since it went live in March.

Communications manager Aimee Driscoll said it was in line with the increase in the popularity of mobile devices, especially for younger audiences and families who relied on their mobile phones while they were out and about. The demand increased substantially during the busy summer season, she said.

Omokoroa No 1 School principal Chris Broadhurst said its Ride on Mower Day and Gala made about $40,000 last year and had gone from strength to strength.

"Originally when we first started it people had to multi-task and hop off the mower and hang up a pair of panties or have a cup of tea so it went from that to high-speed racing. The mowers are all modified now and it has become like the V8 supercars.

"They hold the national championship final here now and we are expecting 30 to 40 racers on Sunday, including women."

The gala side reminded Mr Broadhurst of Mystery Creek.

About 5000 people attended the event in 2015 and it had become synonymous with the school.

"I think it is a real success because it's free and there are a variety of activities for the whole family."

Mower Race Day
10am to 3pm Emeny Rd, Plummers Pt
Omokoroa No 1 School
Entry by gold coin donation

- Bay of Plenty Times

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