Martine Rolls: Festival promotes city spending

By Martine Rolls


To me, the best thing about living in the Bay is the way we enjoy our summers.

We all cheer up when the sun comes out and if this is combined with a week or two off work, there is no place I'd rather be.

Yes, it has been hot and muggy at times, there are more flies about than normal, hay fever is particularly bad this year and we can't collect pipis at the moment.

Regardless of all that, I think we're having a cracking summer.

Since I'm not the type to bake on the beach with the masses, what I love doing on a nice hot day is enjoy some good company, listen to live music, eat fresh food and drink a glass or two of nicely chilled white wine. That's exactly what I did on Saturday.

The Tauranga Moana Boutique Seafood Festival was on, a festival that was well promoted on Facebook, which of course is an effective way to get people involved and keep them up to date.

It was a last-minute decision to go, and I'm glad I did. Caryn and Dan Rawlinson organised a fantastic day.

The food was great, the entertainment was excellent and the atmosphere was superb.

Still, I'm a little stunned by how the preview we posted on the event earlier this month attracted such strange comments.

A few people were moaning about the ticket prices, but that's to be expected for any event that doesn't have entry by koha.

What surprised me was that there are people out there that seem to think the local retailers get shafted by festivals like this.

Someone that posts under the name of Believeitornot said: "Every event in Downtown Tauranga takes money away from the businesses. The CBD does not need events to make it work. It does not need Dive Crescent closed off as was the Strand on New Year's Eve day which was a disaster for all the businesses in the CBD.

"All the City Centre needs is parking parity with everywhere else in Tauranga. If these events are run as a non-profit making venture with no charges they may be of help but nobody is willing to do such a thing so we don't need events thank you."

It's beyond me how anyone could think a seafood festival takes money away from local retailers, and it didn't take long for a steady stream of reactions to appear after Believeitornot's comment.

It became quite an interesting thread.

I met a bunch of people from out of town at the festival, including two couples from Auckland.

They were staying in town for a few days, had booked accommodation and had already spent some time shopping and dining downtown.

They were on holiday, enjoying themselves and had no problem spending a few extra dollars.

Believe it or not, that is actually good for our local economy.

I only have space for one of the reactions posted online, so I picked this one from Kats2.

"Good on the organisers for providing Tauranga with an event which landmarks Tauranga as a viable, competitive tourist and cultural destination, celebrating the largest asset our community has ... the ocean! This is a safe, family-fun environment which is run locally and supports local entertainers and food stallers.

"I spoke to the organiser at the last festival and can assure you that the main driver is to provide safe, family fun to all who attend. The food stalls are hand-picked so there is a guarantee that it is of high quality and taste as well as what so many Tauranga retailers don't provide ... Good old kiwi hospitality!"

Kats2, I know you're right.

For a taste of the atmosphere of the seafood festival, check out the photo gallery:


- Bay of Plenty Times

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