Tauranga became a jazz hub this weekend, drawing people to the sunny city from all over the country for the 54th year of the National Jazz Festival.

Jazz festival director Becks Chambers said the event had so-far been a "really awesome buzz".

Performers included blues and jazz legends Kokomo, which marked its 25th anniversary by performing to a sold-out crowd.

The jazz festival also held the 39th National Youth Jazz Competition, the Downtown Festival and the Hurricane Party.


"It's been nice to see Tauranga come to life," she said.

Despite wild weather rocking the Bay just days before, the sun came out for the numerous events across Tauranga.

"Downtown Carnival is pumping at the moment, everyone is enjoying the sunshine and the bands," Ms Chambers said.

She estimated as of Sunday afternoon there had been 3000 to 4000 people at the paid events, 12,000 people each day at the Downtown Festival, and was expecting about 600 people at the Hurricane Party Sunday evening.

Ms Chambers said many people had travelled for the festival, with security and volunteers noticing more out-of-towners at the events.

"It's a more more touristy feel this year," she added.

Ms Chambers said their new event, the waterfront concert went "really well".

She said they had made their events "sharper and better" this year, and was looking forward to the TECT Jazz Village event today.

La Mexica Cantina and Restaurant owner Adam Fox, who was situated right beside the stage, said it had been "an amazing day".

Adam Fox and Gali O'Connell, of La Mexica, enjoying the crowds in The Strand on Sunday.
Adam Fox and Gali O'Connell, of La Mexica, enjoying the crowds in The Strand on Sunday.

The restaurant was full of diners sitting outside in the sun, watching and listening to the jazz.

The 2016 New Zealand Jazz Award winners were announced on Saturday, with the Best Jazz Album going to Phil Broadhurst Quintet, for the album Panacea.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan said Panacea showed Broadhurst's talent.

"Phil has always been a superb composer, yet he has absolutely excelled himself with this latest offering. I'm thrilled to see he's passing his skills on to the next generation of jazz musicians at Te Koki New Zealand School of Music."

The other finalists for the Jazz Tui were Michael Houstoun and the Rodger Fox Big Band for Concerti and Kevin Field for The A List.

Motueka's Callum Allardice took the award for the APRA Best Jazz Composition with his almost 10-minute piece Sons of Thunder.

Still on today:

* The New Orleans TECT Jazz Village: Jazz, swing and dixie will play among the cobbled streets, with food, art and craft stalls nearby. Miho Wada will rock the Bay News Village Square at 5.20pm, and the New Orleans Music Factory will be playing from 12.30pm. Gates at the Historic Village open at 12pm to 8pm, with tickets costing $15 or free for TEXT cardholders. Children 14 and under are free.