Hawke's Bay is alive with activity, as children try to escape school holiday boredom.

With less than a week left until school is back in session, many businesses are finding an increase in foot traffic.

Holiday programmes running from Hastings Libraries, Hastings City Art Gallery and the Hastings Sports Centre have proved popular so far.

The art gallery saw 600 youngsters and caregivers turn up for their drop-in art classes last week and with one more tomorrow, similar numbers were expected.


"The kids just love having the chance to make their own artwork," a Hastings District Council spokeswoman said.

The most popular activity being run from the Hastings Sports Centre has been visiting the Hawke's Bay Planetarium.

"The range of activities at the three libraries has been very diverse, from wool weaving and story times, to stamp making, science investigations and board games – all very popular."

Hawke's Bay Tourism has an autumn campaign to attract visitors to the region.

General manager Annie Dundas said school holidays are an important time in the region.

"We have superb existing facilities for families, and places like MTG and the National Aquarium do put on programmes for children.

"Because our weather has been so good it's also easy for families to visit, hire bikes and explore the Hawke's Bay trails. There is plenty to do in the region."

MTG Hawke's Bay has also seen "significantly high numbers" coming in over the school holidays compared with term time.

Coming to the museum is a great free activity for the whole family, a spokesperson said.

A "Museum Search" sheet and a drop-in zone filled with craft activities and books were some of the things they provided during this time.

Last week they hosted "Screenies", the children's film festival in their Century Theatre and today were planning to read Anzac stories to the kids throughout the day in their drop-in zone.

Similarly, visitor numbers coming into the National Aquarium of New Zealand during week one of the holidays were about 10 per cent up on the previous year, and well up 50 per cent on the week before school holidays started.

Customer services co-ordinator Bruce Wells said the school holiday programme was full last week, and they expected it to be close to full this week.

"In general, we have been very busy, with a good number of locals and visitors from outside the region through the doors."

Hastings City Business Association general manager Susan McDade said although it was too early to ascertain results, retailers generally seemed to be happy.

These holidays often saw many people leaving the region for a warmer destination, with the change in seasons, she noted.

"It is quiet in town but it is a quiet time of year. We do have a lot of kids in town as well which is always good for business.

Since City Assist ambassadors and the Maori wardens started patrolling the streets of Hastings from late 2013, McDade said they have seen "really good results around safety and security".

"In the past school holidays were always a really tough time for retailers with shoplifting and anti-social behaviour, and now you just don't see that. It is quite a pleasant place to come and spend some time in the city now."

McDade said it was turning into a "really neat place to bring your kids during the holidays if they get bored".

They encouraged young buskers to showcase their artistic abilities and also have the Zeal Music Box in Albert Square this week with live music at lunchtime.

YMCA Hawke's Bay's holiday programmes have seen 180 children across the three sites - Henry Hill School, Taradale Primary School and Ebbett Park School - take part in a pyjama party, tie dye art, and baking as well as trips to the movies and Ocean Spa among others.

"We've had a brilliant response this holiday programme and all the feedback we are getting has been great," Oscar manager Adelle Singer said.

"It is a much needed need from our parents and the children have been enjoying getting out and about in our community and onsite."