The Bay's art and culture sector is ''buzzing'' and has shaken off the naysayers as it positions itself for the future, local supporters say.
Creative Bay of Plenty, which has received more than $1.3 million in funding from councils since 2015, said it still ''had a lot of work to do'' but was rolling out its Arts and Culture Strategy Plan this year.
General manager Meagan Davis likened its role in the arts to the Chamber of Commerce in business and said it was focused on the strategic plan and building capability.
''We have a lot of work to do to get some tangible deliverables on board ... and make sure our internal process is fit for purpose.''
It had workshops for artists in the pipeline and was revamping its website and adding more detail to its extensive database, she said.
Creative Bay of Plenty chairwoman Michelle Whitmore said it wanted to shine the light on the amazing artists and people involved in the arts and culture.
''We want to be as solid as a rock sitting behind the sector. It's about listening first and acting second - we have taken the time to do that.''
Whitmore said she had lived in Tauranga for 20 years and "I don't think I've seen arts and culture taken more seriously".
''It's in better shape now and we have a wonderful opportunity. I sat for a long time and watched it be either be a political hot potato or the naysayers saying it had nil value or
it was nice-to-have but not need-to-have.''
''We simply have to keep the momentum going – that is our mandate and our responsibility and we take it really seriously … and even more so, if Tauranga wants to become the 'internationally competitive city' it has set its heart and mind on.''
A community with arts and culture at its heart creates a culture of innovation and new thinking that drives economic wealth and wellbeing, she said.
''We want arts and culture to be integral and central to this community. That is what this is about. We want to bring it in and tell its story, so that is our purpose - how can we be best in breed for this region?''
Its funding had been spent on operational costs and other expenses including the relocation and refurbishment of its office and gallery.
Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said the arts strategy was important.
''I'm a supporter of the arts but on the practical side I think we have got this strategy so let's just run with it ... now it's time for action.
''What annoys me in Tauranga is people say there is nothing to do and that is complete rubbish. There is plenty to do.''
A strong arts sector helps to ''give us a sense of place and purpose'', he said.
Figures from Tauranga City Council show since 2015 Creative Tauranga received about $1.2m including $259,059 from Creative NZ.
Tauranga City Council Community Development adviser Anthony Campbell said it had a positive and productive relationship with CBOP.
''It seeks to benefit our community by supporting, inspiring, advancing, and motivating communities and individuals involved with arts and cultural activities within Tauranga.''
He said funding enhanced access to the arts through promotion and communication.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council community relationships manager Frank Begley said its partnership with CBOP ''is a good one''.
Since 2015 it had given about $150,000 in funding to CBOP.
''We have worked with Creative Bay of Plenty for many years. They provide similar services to the arts and culture community as Sport Bay Of Plenty does to the sporting community.''