Labour List MP Jacinda Ardern was impressed with the Hairy Maclary project when she visited the Bay yesterday.

Ms Ardern, the Labour spokesperson for Children, Police and Arts and Culture, was excited to see new projects the gallery had been working on.

"The brilliant initiative of capturing and honouring Hairy Maclary through a local project was a brilliant way to bring the Tauranga community together."

Ms Ardern said her mother's maiden name was Bottomley with her grandparents formerly living in Welcome Bay.

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"So I feel like I have that nice little connection to Bottomley Potts," she said.

Ms Ardern said the Bay of Plenty had so much potential as a region but there were still challenges holding back the area like economic development and a sustainable job market for younger generations.

She was able to cross off all the sections of her portfolio with visits to St Vincent de Paul, Creative Tauranga, Kaka Street Special School and a quick lunch with the Labour crew at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.

Ms Ardern said her visit to Kaka Street Special School was a good opportunity to see some of the issues disability schools were facing across the country and see what options where available to families.

Also in Tauranga yesterday were Labour MPs Grant Robertson and Nanaia Mahuta.