For weeks locals have wondered what is going on in The Strand's green space opposite Masonic Park.

But now the secret's out. The sprung floor has been installed and everyone's readying their blue suede shoes to try the city's new Dance-O-Mat.

The Dance-O-Mat is a coinoperated dance floor that anyone can use. You simply pop $2 in the slot of the modified laundromat machine, plug in your iPod or smartphone and you're good to go for half an hour.

Project Tauranga manager Michael Vujnovich, who worked on the project, says the Dance-O-Mat is Trustpower's gift to the city to celebrate moving into the CBD and will be great "because dancing is awesome".


"It's one of those things where people get up and get active. It's a cool thing to do and it's going to attract people from all walks of life, from the young dudes in Merivale to the oldies who want to do a foxtrot. I think it's going to be one of those fabulous pieces of equipment for the city," Michael says.

"I can't wait, I think it's going to be fantastic." Michael says there's already a lot of interest in it.

"All sorts of various dance studios and groups who are going to come down and use this thing."

It's only the second Dance-O-Mat in the world and its installation was the brainchild of Trustpower community relations manager Graeme Purches, after he saw one in Christchurch.

"I saw the one down there and I just fell in love with it, about four years ago," he says. The floor is fully sprung, there will be a disco ball in the centre and sensor lights so the dancefloor lights up when you approach.

"This is something that I think will benefit all of this area," Graeme says.

"People on cruise ships will come here, there'll be school kids here, there'll be people with families here on the weekends, there'll be people dining at night," he says.

"Once they see it in action, it's going to bring people here. They'll have a few dances, then they'll go across the road and have a beer."

The Men's Shed team built the floor. "They're a great bunch of guys - absolutely mad keen. There was weeks and weeks of work," Graeme says.

A few weeks ago the Gap Filler team in Christchurch, who designed the Dance-O-Mat, sent Graeme an email they'd received from an elderly woman down there.

I was her husband's 70th birthday and the whole family decided to take him down to the Dance-O-Mat to celebrate his birthday. So they rocked on down there, in the daytime, and some hip hop guys were playing their music and doing their stuff on it. So they wandered up and stood there watching for a while and the guy says 'do you want to use the mat?'," Graeme says.

The family said yes please. "They said 'oh that's alright, come on'. They unplugged their music, said 'come on, plug yours in', off we go. "And [the hip hop guys] said 'do you mind if we do some of our moves to your music?' so they did that and they got talking and said 'so what's the occasion?'"

The family explained it was their dad's birthday. "The old guy said 'In the normal course of events we never would have spoken to those kids, we have nothing in common with them. We ended up talking to them, we ended up great mates. They sang me Happy Birthday and it's the best birthday I've ever had'.

"And that's the thing about it," Graeme says. "It brings people together and we need more of this vibrancy."

The money from the DanceO-Mat will be collected each month and donated to charity.

Graeme says Trustpower is stoked to be based in the middle of the city. "The people in the CBD and the business have been so bloody good to us. They've put on functions, they've put on barbecues, they've put on breakfasts. They've just welcomed us with open arms."