Tauranga enjoyed a bumper Easter weekend this year, with the sun shining and thousands flocking to events around the city.

Perhaps the biggest event was the 57th National Jazz Festival which drew thousands of people to numerous ticketed shows and a gigantic carnival that stretched along The Strand.

For the sports lovers, the Mel Young Easter Classic junior basketball tournament was held in Tauranga for the fifth consecutive year and saw 135 basketball teams take to the court over the weekend.

On top of that, more than 100 war veterans from the Alpha Company who were involved in the Malayan Emergency gathered for a 30-year reunion with numerous activities around the area from Thursday to Sunday.


Jazz festival organiser Mandy Ryan said there were many comments from people about the "beautiful weather" Tauranga had during the weekend.

She estimated around 18,000 people came down to The Strand for the festival on Saturday and Sunday.

"It feels busier than last year," she said.

The festival drew people from Australia, Germany, Canada and various parts of Europe.

"There's a lot of people coming to Tauranga just for the jazz festival," Ryan said.

With entry by gold-coin donation, the carnival was packed with people, while the ticketed events such as the Jazz Sunset Cruise and the new Jazz High Tea were all sold out, she said.

"It shows people are looking for a unique experience."

Ryan said next year would bring new initiatives, with the current events built upon.

Samantha Simkiss joined the crowd at the Jazz Festival carnival on Sunday. Photo / George Novak.
Samantha Simkiss joined the crowd at the Jazz Festival carnival on Sunday. Photo / George Novak.

Lone Star Tauranga owner Trevor Donaghy said the weekend had been a winner.

"The vibe was good and everyone was drinking responsibly," he said.

"There were good-quality bands that had people dancing on the street."

Business-wise, he said turnover matched last year, which had been the best year yet.

Hospitality New Zealand accommodation sector Bay of Plenty chairman and 850 Cameron Motel owner Tony Bullot said the demand for lodging was "very similar" to last year.

He expected demand to increase as Tauranga grows.


While there were some rooms available on Saturday morning, these were all filled by the evening.

"It's a good time for Tauranga with the jazz festival and basketball games, along with the last of the summer tourists," he said.

Bayfair's centre manager Steve Ellingford said the mall was busy over the weekend despite the good weather and the centre still being under development.

He said the number of customers through the Easter period was around 10 per cent higher this year compared to 2018.

This was expected to continue through the next seven days given Easter Monday and Anzac day falling in the next week, in addition to school holidays, Ellingford said.

A Tauranga police spokesperson said there had been no arrests out of the ordinary and no major incidents to note.


The spokesperson said the public were well behaved and out enjoying the weekend and festivities.