American singer-songwriter Ben Harper will perform at Mount Maunganui as part of a five-date New Zealand tour.

The three-time Grammy Award winner and seven-time nominee, along with his band The Innocent Criminals, will open their tour in New Plymouth on February 21, 2020 before performing in Christchurch, Auckland and Napier before closing with a show at Mount Maunganui's Mount Park on February 29. Support acts are yet to be announced.

Pato Alvarez, who is bringing the tour presented by Neptune Entertainment with business partners Mitch Lowe and Toby Burrows, said Harper's concert had been two years in the making and was the perfect outdoor event for summer.

"We have been working in this project for a few years now and it's always a good feeling when the deal gets signed. I'm personally a huge fan of his so it's always good to work with bands that I follow and enjoy," Alvarez said.


"We always want to bring the best of the best to the Mount, we are locals and we want to support the live music and economy of our city.

"We're also working on a few support acts for this tour, which will be announced soon," Alvarez said.

Californian-born Harper has been making music for three decades across a range of genres from blues, rock and reggae to soul, funk and folk. He's released 14 studio albums, with some of his biggest hits including Steal My Kisses, Diamonds on the Inside, With My Own Two Hands and Better Way.

Harper is the second international act announced this week to perform at Mount Maunganui. On Tuesday night American rap star Tyga was announced as the headline of a new event called Hip Hop in the Park at Soper Reserve on October 23, which will not only mark the beginning of festival season in the Bay of Plenty, but also an entertaining week in the lead up to Labour Day on October 28.

"We have another event to be announced for Sunday, 27 October as well at the same venue so watch this space. It's a different style but yes, we want to go large this year in the Mount and people will be very spoiled."

Hip Hop in the Park, which also features New Zealand acts Melodownz, LMC, Poetik, ZEE, Raka and KID REY, will be Tyga's only New Zealand show and more acts are still to be announced.

Read More: Tyga announced to headline Hip Hop in the Park.

Tyga has worked with some of the biggest names in hip hop including Drake, Lil Wayne,
Snoop Dogg, YG, Kid Ink, Ty Dolla $ign, Wale, Birdman and Nicki Minaj as well as R&B
superstars Chris Brown and Bruno Mars to name a few. Some of his biggest releases include Rack City, Taste, Dip, and Ayo with Chris Brown, while also featuring on hits such as Drake's The Motto and Chris Brown's Loyal.


Alvarez said Tyga accepted a one show only concert and decided Mount Maunganui was the best location due to its close proximity to areas such as Rotorua, Hamilton and Whakatāne.

American rapper Tyga will perform at Mount Maunganui on October 23. Photo / Getty Images
American rapper Tyga will perform at Mount Maunganui on October 23. Photo / Getty Images

These shows are just the beginning of what's to come for summer in the Bay of Plenty, Alvarez said.

"We are just starting. We've probably got another three to five more big announcements coming soon."

Kath Low from Tourism Bay of Plenty said having international artists performing locally can deliver massive exposure via their social channels.

"Events are also fantastic incentives for visitors to travel which is especially valuable for our tourism industry during off-peak and shoulder seasons. The variety of performers also attracts a diverse demographic mix of visitors," Low said.

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals tour dates:

February 21: Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth.
February 22: Electric Avenue Festival, Christchurch.
February 27: Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland.
February 28: Church Road, Napier.
February 29: Mount Park, Mount Maunganui.
Tickets on sale from 8am September 18 at

Tyga at Hip Hop in the Park:

October 23: Headline act - Tyga. Also featuring Kiwi acts Melodownz, LMC, Poetik, ZEE, Raka and KID REY.
Tickets available from Ticketfairy.