When Hoffmania sweeps into New Zealand on Thursday, promoters predict thousands of fans will mob the star on Mt Maunganui beach.

Last week, when the Herald on Sunday revealed the visit of The Hoff, it sparked excitement in the Bay of Plenty holiday hotspot.

It will be a far cry from when David Hasselhoff visited these shores back in 1986.

The star, riding high on Knight Rider fame, spent several weeks in Auckland recording an album of "shmaltzy" pop songs at Mandrill Studios in Parnell.

The Lovin' Feelings album bombed in the United States but eventually sold a few copies in Germany, says studio boss Glyn Tucker.

Hasselhoff was looking to launch a music career, said Tucker. "He was looking for his next move as an actor but fancied himself as a singer.

"His voice wasn't that great but I wanted him to try to sing love songs. Being a bit of a ladies' man, it could have worked."

Tucker travelled to Europe with The Hoff to try to secure a record deal. "A year or two later he went to Germany and had a No1 single with a terrible disco hit.

"Because of that, our album got released through CBS Austria and it sold a few copies."

Tucker founded Mandrill Studios, where Dave Dobbyn's bestselling album Loyal was recorded.

During his time here The Hoff was given an All Blacks jersey, and hired a Spanish tutor from Auckland University to help with his singing.

The Hoff tried to weave his magic with the ladies, according to an Auckland man who hung out with him - but he failed to make an impression.

"We took The Hoff to The Exchange pub in Parnell, where The Hoff was looking for a bit of action (that was a fizzer, he couldn't even give his autographs away)."

Hasselhoff had rented a house in One Tree Hill, and instructed his minders to invite women around for a barbecue.

"By the time all the ladies had left the party, he was seriously stewed and inconsolable. The sound engineer and I left him weeping on his manager's shoulder."

The Hoff, who is in New Zealand for less than 24 hours to promote a new ice block, will greet beachgoers at Mount Maunganui before flying back to Auckland for a VIP reception in the evening.