With accommodation packed, temperatures high and music and sports events aplenty, Hawke's Bay is set for an economic boon in the region's first long weekend since lockdown.
Hawke's Bay Tourism chief executive Hamish Saxton said accommodation has been "highly sought-after, with healthy forward bookings" - while the Napier's i-SITE visitor information centre said the district's accommodation is close to full capacity for Labour weekend.
"We have more people looking for accommodation than what is available," a spokeswoman said.
Kennedy Park Resort Napier is fully booked from Friday through Monday ahead of the Lotto Napier City Rovers Under-19 Youth Tournament at Park Island.
More than 130 matches between 40 different teams will be played at the weekend, with the final due to be held at 11am on Monday.
"This is a great sign of us going back to some form of normality and highlights how important sports tournaments are to the city and region," a Napier City Council spokeswoman said.
The Hawke's Bay Magpies also take on Manawatu at McLean Park on Saturday afternoon, while the Meeanee Speedway opening night is due to take place on Sunday.
Labour weekend is New Zealand's first long weekend since Queen's Birthday weekend, when the region was at alert level 2.
Saxton said for many operators, a long weekend at level 1 will bring significant value.
"There is a feeling of buoyancy right now among many of our members; however they're still working extremely hard to cover the loss in business from the initial lockdown period," he said.
"Once visitors are here it's the consistently warm welcome from locals that makes region stand out and encourages them to come back and contribute more to the visitor economy."
The warm subtropical airmass serves to keep temperatures balmy throughout the long weekend, with expected highs of 26C on Sunday in Napier and Hastings.
Napier mayor Kirsten Wise said she anticipates the fine weather and numerous local events to spark further visitors during the "cracker of a weekend".
"We have enjoyed increased domestic visitor numbers over recent months and this has been very beneficial for local businesses, in particular tourism and hospitality," she said.
Business Hawke's Bay CEO Carolyn Neville said good weather and increased footfall will be welcomed by all types of businesses.
"It has been a really tough year," she said. "Good weather and great events will attract people to the region and bring locals out en masse, which is great for our tourism, retail and hospitality businesses."
Saxton said the Hawke's Bay A&P Show at the Showgrounds Hawke's Bay Tomoana will attract thousands of competitors and bring in more than $1 million to the local economy.
"We're looking forward to a bustling and vibrant long weekend in Hawke's Bay, with the A&P Show alone attracting around 4800 competitors from out of the region and delivering more than $1m into the local visitor economy," he said.
The Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, which has "a range of incredible acts", and other events are also drawing crowds, Saxton said.
The 15th annual Wairoa Maori Film Festival will commence this weekend, while Moana Park Winery's Sounds at the Cellar featuring Hollie Smith will commence at 3pm on Sunday.
Black Barn events manager Francis de Jager said concert-goers can expect some of New Zealand's finest music from Shapeshifter, as well as Ladi6 and local DJ BMC, at two gigs at the venue's amphitheatre over the weekend.
A sell-out audience of 1800 will watch the drum 'n' bass act's show on Saturday, while tickets for the Friday gig – Shapeshifter's first outdoor gig since lockdown - are still available.
Surface Sounds, a music and sound installation created by Campbell Burns, will be free to the public in Keirunga Gardens, Havelock North, on Saturday, while the Hawke's Bay Art Trail has returned to Hawke's Bay, with art on display throughout the region across Saturday and Sunday.
The Napier Sunday Market will be running as per usual, while the Hawke's Bay Farmers Market will celebrate its 20th anniversary with Sir Graeme Avery due to cut a cake in celebration at 9am.