A local economic agency says it experiencing an influx of inquiries from business owners keen to relocate to Tauranga - with 12 new businesses deciding to make the move last month.

Figures showed 573 new businesses set up in Tauranga in 2016, four per cent more than 2015 and higher than the national average of 1.6 per cent.

Priority One's new business and investment attraction manager, Mark Irving said the region was ''definitely punching above our weight in this respect''.

Mr Irving said the agency was targeting businesses and investment to the region that aligned with certain sectors including marine biotechnology, tourism, distribution and logistics, horticulture technology, advanced manufacturing and research and development.


"These sectors will serve as a solid platform for the Western Bay sub-region to set itself apart as a unique, dynamic and smart region that is moving forward."

"During July a further 12 businesses that we know of began the process of moving to the region. They range from large multi-national companies through to individually owned start-up entities, with some seeking to establish their head office in the region and others expanding existing operations from within New Zealand."

"A key driver amongst these companies is that they see Tauranga and the surrounding region as an internationally suitable location for economic growth, political stability and quality of life," he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it was seeing similar trends to Priority One and could confirm its sentiments.

"Tauranga is seen as a very collaborative place, with lots going on. But it can be a mind-boggling place to get your head around if you've just landed."

"We are seeing all types of businesses coming here or being started up, with a variety of needs."

It was not all glitzy high-tech innovation either, he said.

"As Tauranga's population grows, all kinds of businesses can flourish here - from hairdressers, painters and roading contractors to animal care products."


Mr Gregec said one of its business advisers was working with two Italian clients who had permanent residency that wanted to import selective high-quality leather and fabric items into New Zealand from Italy.

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said having new businesses in the city was great for the economy and inspired other people.

Long term it was also great for employment, he said.

''In an employed city where people have more money... I think it makes it is a better place to live having people occupied.''

Staples VR producer/owner Aliesha Staples said it was opening an office in Tauranga next week.

The augmented and virtual reality content creation company had offices in Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne and Sydney.

''We specialise in live action 360 video capture and interactive development of virtual and augmented reality tools for business.''

Its growth was due to demand and it would have one team based in the city, she said.

''We were receiving increasing interest from big industry players in Tauranga and had been spending a lot of time travelling down to the Bay of Plenty from Auckland to fulfil contracts.''

Some of its clients included Warner Brothers, Paramount Studios, Auckland District Health Board, Comvita, Wave Agency, Ateed and Mercury Energy.

Barbara Bentley, who would be managing the Tauranga studio, said there was a rapid growing community of businesses and entrepreneurs collaborating across many fields.

Businesses were investing in building amazing offices and employing staff, she said.

"Business used to feel very close knit, traditional and hard to break into certain networks, people are moving here with fresh ideas and experience it is now opening up with so many exciting opportunities in business, training, education and employment."