Tauranga's population has soared 10.8 per cent in five years - reaching an estimated record of 135,000 this year.

The surge in new residents has resulted in increased demand for services such as care at Tauranga Hospital but business leaders say the boom brings great things to the city.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand show Tauranga's population was an estimated 121,800 in 2014 and from June 2017 to June 2018 the population grew by about 600 naturally while about 2900 people migrated to the city.

Meanwhile, the overall population of New Zealand has increased from 4.5 million to 4.9 million over the past five years, an increase of 8.8 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand.


Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said the city's beaches and forests were key drawcards for new residents. So was Tauranga's location, he said.

The increasing population brought positives such as having more people to contribute to a strong economy, which was "better for business" and more jobs were being created, Brownless said.

Tauranga City Council data showed the most dwelling consents were given in Wairakei (Pāpāmoa East) and Pāpāmoa over the past five years but there was also strong growth Pyes Pa West.

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said Tauranga and the Western Bay District were popular places to live because of the coastal lifestyle, including a temperate climate and access to a lot of outdoor activities.

Hill said, over the past five years, the area had experienced strong job growth as a result of businesses expanding and new businesses moving to the city.

"This means that there are a lot more career opportunities than there used to be, so this is attracting people from elsewhere in New Zealand and overseas, including returning Kiwi expats who hanker for the quintessential New Zealand lifestyle that is epitomised by the Bay," she said.

Hill said population growth underpinned economic growth which provided a higher standard of living and quality of life for residents.

This included increased investment in health, the environment, recreation, the arts and better career opportunities, she said.


Bay of Plenty District Health Board medical director Dr Hugh Lees said the number of patients seen in the emergency department rose 16.5 per cent over the past five years.

In the financial year of 2013/2014 there were 47,186 emergency department presentations and in 2017/2018 there were 54,979 - an increase of 7793 more patients.

In June 2014, 2040 permanent staff were employed and in June 2018, 2427 staff were employed.

Lees said the hospital was continually looking at ways to improve the efficiency and timeliness of its systems and care in response to the increased demand.

"Our Service Improvement Unit has undertaken a lot of work around patient flow. That has been looking at ways we can care for our patients in as timely a manner as possible right from initial presentation, to admission and all the way through the system," Lees said.

"We have taken on around 50 additional doctors, 100 extra nurses and 60 more Allied Health staff since 2014."

Ex-pat Brits loving their new home

Emma and Thomas Burnside moved to Mount Maunganui three months ago. Photo/ Supplied
Emma and Thomas Burnside moved to Mount Maunganui three months ago. Photo/ Supplied

Thomas Burnside and his wife Emma moved to Tauranga three months ago from Newcastle in the United Kingdom.

The couple had visited New Zealand many times and finally made Mount Maunganui their new home in August.

Burnside said his wife was originally from New Zealand and the couple had a lot of family here.

"We've visited a lot in the past and always loved the thought of making a life in the Bay one day," he said.

Burnside worked in construction and said it was helpful having a trade-based career to be able to quickly secure a job.

"I think having a trade has certainly helped. Otherwise, I think it would have been a lot more difficult to get a job," he said.

Burnside said he and Emma had started to settle into life in Mount Maunganui and loved to be outdoors and make the most of local walks.

Every Saturday the couple also visited local garage sales and liked to find bargains to upcycle.

"Everybody is really friendly which has made it really easy to settle."