Overseas investors will travel to Tauranga later this year to target investment opportunities in the region.

Priority One chief operating officer Greg Simmonds said at two seminars in China in May, investors had expressed interest in Tauranga projects including student accommodation, hotel and conferencing facilities, property and financial services.

The organisation partnered with Immigration New Zealand and ANZ Private for the events in Guangzhou on the back of an Education Tauranga marketing trip.

Mr Simmonds said the collaborative approach and the long-term sister city relationship between Tauranga and Yantai helped in leveraging investment efforts.


He said China had a "real and genuine" interest to invest in New Zealand.

One migrant investor was returning to Tauranga next month to look further at opportunities and three others were visiting later in the year.

Key benefits to overseas investors included the country's clean environment, lack of corruption, and the education system, Mr Simmonds said.

"Many investor migrants are looking at New Zealand from the perspective of where it will be best to educate their children, and how supportive a community is to Chinese migrants in terms of service offerings and wider community acceptance."

Priority One partnered with ANZ Private and Crowe Howarth to host an initial group of 10 migrant investors in Tauranga in February.

Mr Simmonds said migrant investors mostly living in Auckland that were originally from a range of countries including China, Japan, United Kingdom, Tahiti, United States and Germany had visited businesses and key sites across the Western Bay and had learned about Tauranga's growth.

The event encouraged migrant investors to think about their future investments in New Zealand, he said. The success of the event meant it would be replicated in November.

Mr Simmonds said migrant investor attraction was one focus area under the Western Bay of Plenty International Strategy 2016-2019, which showed a cohesive system to offshore partners.

Priority One had partnered with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment to implement the investor migrant strategy, which involves locally-based activity.

In 2017, a network of local service providers supporting investor migration was built, including immigration agents, financial and legal service providers, education agents, property specialists and migrant support services.

"There has been strong interest in the formation of the network, as many of those attending were not aware of other specialist services in this area," Mr Simmonds said.

"The forum's focus is on building capability and capacity in this space in order that the sub-region is able to offer a seamless service to migrant investors."

Tauranga and Western Bay had also been selected as a pilot region for the Government's Welcoming Communities initiative that allowed regions to assess if they were ready to welcome and retain migrants.

Jensen Zeng of the Bay of Plenty Chinese Business and Commerce Association said he was aware Mr Simmonds had been promoting Tauranga to investors in China, but he was not aware there had been any expressions of interest.

Mr Zeng believed investors wanted to come to Tauranga but had some concerns.

"The New Zealand policy is changing," he said. "Investors cannot borrow money from commercial banks in New Zealand.

"To take money out of China they have to set a new policy. To get money out is a little bit harder."

But he believed that stage would come and it would encourage more Chinese investors to come here.

"Tauranga is a very good place for living, it has got huge potential."

Mr Zeng said the interest in student accommodation, hotel and conferencing facilities, property and financial services was most likely from a commercial investor point of view.

Tourism Bay of Plenty's Kathrin Low said the International Visitor Strategy showed the region's tourism potential.

"Through working in partnership with these other organisations in developing the strategy there is a shared appreciation and understanding of the opportunity and also the gaps which need to be addressed in order to harness our potential."

Western Bay of Plenty District Council communications and engagement adviser Corrie Taylor said the international strategy connected Tauranga and the Western Bay with the wider Bay of Plenty region and linked to nationwide activities and initiatives with an international focus.