The biggest sporting event for intermediate age kids in New Zealand, the AIMS Games is under way at various venues around Tauranga.

More than 11,500 athletes from around New Zealand and the Pacific are taking part in 23 different sports during the six-day event.

Hordes of youngsters filled out Trustpower Arena for the opening ceremony yesterday afternoon and were wowed by Kenyan-Kiwi rapper JessB and hip-hop troupe NZX, as well as receiving some words of wisdom from Black Ferns allrounder Chelsea Alley and Silver Ferns superstar Casey Kopua.

The event has came under extra national attention after three teams pulled out due to measles fears. A small number of event staff were wearing masks at the opening ceremony to protect from the illness and the ceremony included a safety message about the disease.

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The event is set to pump about $3 million into the local economy while accommodation providers are full and food retailers are stocking up shelves in anticipation.

Nine venues around Tauranga are in use for the games.

Mokoia Intermediate sports coordinator and teacher Liana Te Hau was at Gordon Spratt Reserve watching the school's boys' football team take on Ōtūmoetai Intermediate in their first game this morning.

DawtMi Tlumang from Royal Oak Intermediate. Photo / George Novak
DawtMi Tlumang from Royal Oak Intermediate. Photo / George Novak

She said it was great to have an event as big as the AIMS Games in Bay of Plenty.

"It's awesome, the tamariki are excited as. They've been training hard for this, regular practices during the week, so they're ready."

Te Hau said the kids would learn a lot about sport during the tournament as well as valuable life skills.

"Working together as a team, communication with each other and obviously their own development in the game with their skills and things.

"Definitely life skills as well, they get an appreciation for the coaches and teachers, the work that they put into them."

2019 AIMS Games venues and sports:
Trustpower Baypark Arena - (Basketball, Indoor Bowls, Futsal)
Blake Park - (Hockey, Tennis, Rugby Sevens, Netball and Squash)
Gordon Spratt Reserve - (Football)
McLaren Falls - (Multi Sport and Canoe Slalom)
Sulphur Point - (Yachting)
Summerhill Park -(Mountain Biking)
Tauranga BMX Track - (BMX)
Waipuna Park - (Cross Country)
Western Bay Golf Courses

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More to come.