Dozens of ladies in neatly pressed uniforms - hats tilted just so - will march into Tauranga next week.

Next Saturday Tauranga will host 27 leisure marching teams made up of 245 women from around the central North Island for the Bay's annual display day.

Greerton Gold marcher Bernie Taylor said it was a return home for the sport, which was started in Tauranga in 1991 by local Audrey Rodgers and six friends.

The first nationals were held 25 years ago in Rotorua.


In 2017, more than 800 women attended the national event in Wellington.

Tauranga has 10 leisure marching teams, each of which can have between three and 20 people. Most have seven to nine.

A non-competitive activity, leisure marching is different from competitive marching, Mrs Taylor said.

"The premise of leisure marching is fun, fitness and friendship," she said.

"You can muck up out on the floor in front of everybody and everybody will still give you a clap."

Mrs Taylor said it was a very friendly sport. Recently the Blenheim team fundraised for new uniforms for the Kaikoura team, who had not wanted to ask their community for money as people were recovering from last year's earthquake.

Mrs Rodgers and friends used to practice in Fergusson Park, but next week the teams will enjoy the relative comfort of being indoors at the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre.

Francis Wilcockson, chairwoman of the Tauranga marching committee, said people were welcome to come and watch for free.

She said the day would start at 10am with a "march-past" where each team will present and salute to representatives of the host region.

The marching displays will start at 10am and continue until 2.30pm with a lunch break at midday.

"Leisure marchers are known to be prompt," Mrs Wilcockson said.

Teams try to use the whole floor, forming rhythmic patterns and weaving together to music.

She said some of the newer teams have embraced a more modern style of leisure marching where they include a dance-like display in their routine.

"It's very colourful."

The day will end with a maze dance, where people watching are welcome to join the teams on the floor for a follow-the-leader style march.