Tauranga is the top performing city in New Zealand across all measures of economic activity, new data shows.
Data commissioned by Priority One from Infometrics shows in 2017 Tauranga had the highest GDP growth for a city at 6.6 per cent - well ahead of Auckland's 5.2 per cent.
Business and employment growth also outstripped every other city at 5.3 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively - with nearly 800 new business units and almost 3000 new jobs created last year.
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said it was an outstanding performance and boded well for the future.
''The underlying fundamentals of our economy are very strong, which bodes well for growth in the medium term.''
Tauranga also had a more significant increase in knowledge-intensive jobs than the national average, at 3.9 per cent versus 2.1 per cent.
"We increasingly see the development of a comprehensive innovation ecosystem in the region, so it's great that this is now being reflected in results through the growth of knowledge-intensive employment. One of the key areas of job growth has been professional, scientific and technical services, where 288 new jobs have been created in the last year,"
A stand out was the city centre, which had an expansion across all indicators, including 7.6 per cent growth in GDP.
"It is particularly heartening to see a large number of quarternary businesses based in the city centre – those that have a good proportion of staff with degrees, in management positions or working in professional or technical occupations,"
Tauranga was on a roll and showed no signs of letting up, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said.
''It's fantastic to see employment growth and business growth of this scale. I think Tauranga is in a new era, and the $10 Tauranga tag is well and truly history.''
''What we're seeing is the growth of many new skilled and professional jobs that are attracting high-quality people and their families from all directions. Combined with an unbeatable lifestyle and convenience of being located in the 'Golden Growth Triangle', it all adds up."
The chamber had seen lots of new small businesses popping up all over the place, he said.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the investment put into attracting ''the right sort of business here has paid off''.
He said the opening of the new university next year would also have significant spinoffs as graduates gained qualifications for jobs in the region.
Success breeds success said Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys.
''It's wonderful news and fortunately in our business real estate does lead that as well, which is great, and we have seen a lot of high-value properties that have sold well with new people coming in with good jobs and new business people.''
Transport was an issue but could be resolved, he said.
The growing confidence was evident in the city centre, said Sally Cook, of Downtown Tauranga, with investment in developments and the number of new business moving in.
''Add to that the next few years of transformational growth as key developments take shape and the future looks bright for our city centre and businesses. We also look forward to seeing the amenities and infrastructure development programme move forward and keep pace with this growth to ensure we become the truly world-class city that we have the potential to be.''
Tauranga Master Builders Association president Mike Bell said the commercial sector in the city ''is really cracking along'' and there were major projects on the horizon.
Last year the residential market had strong growth, and he expected it to continue in the same fashion.
2017 GDP growth
Tauranga 6.6 per cent
Auckland 5.2 per cent
Hamilton's 4 per cent
Christchurch 3.3 per cent
- Source Infometrics
Partnership brews growth for beer companies
A passion ''born out of beer'' has turned into big business for three mates who are brewing up a storm in Tauranga.
Funk Estate craft beer chief executive Jordan Evison said the company relocated from Auckland last year and teamed up with Mount Brewing Co to share state-of-the-art brewing facilities.
The companies had not merged but had formed Brew Buddies Ltd to enable both to upscale.
Evison said that relationship was also formed ''over a few beers'' and the opportunity to work together.
Established six years ago Funk Estate had experienced massive growth with its beers in supermarkets and liquor stores around the country.
''We've done at least over 10 times what we did in our first year of trade. On average we are at least doubling every 18 months.''
The brewery could make 45,000 litres of craft beer, a month.
''We are maxing that out with Mount Brewing Co.''
''Craft beer is going crazy at the moment. It's a booming industry and great time to be in it; we work in a great industry. I work with some of my best friends, and we make the beer we want to make and do what we want to do.''
On a personal level, Evison said it was awesome to be back in his hometown.
Mount Brewing Co owner Glenn Meikle said it was a local family owned and operated business that had been supplying craft beer to the Bay of Plenty market for 21 years.
He said the new partnership with Funk Estate made sense as there were cost savings and more efficiencies with canning, bottling machines and packaging.
Year on year its growth was up 30 per cent, he said.