Children and adults boogied to live entertainment, others tucked into ice cream and watermelon and mussel fritters, and some enjoyed high-quality Maori artwork.

The Ngapuhi Festival and the flagship premier art exhibition Toi Ngapuhi attracted more than 20,000 punters to Toll Stadium on Saturday to enjoy a whanau day out in Whangarei.

Event manager Tio Taiaki said he was "really pleased" at the turnout.

"The feedback is overwhelmingly positive across all aspects of festival, including the variety of local youth and headliner entertainment, live video-stream, kids' rides, arts exhibition, stalls and karaoke, and that it was all provided free of charge," he said.


The event, organised by Te Runanga-A-Iwi O Ngapuhi, is traditionally held in Kaikohe, however the decision was made to shift the free festival to Toll Stadium to be closer to Ngapuhi in Auckland and Whangarei.

Mr Taiaki said organisers will review how well the festival went which would include surveys to inform future decisions about what and where the next festival will be held.

"The feedback and attendance at this year's festival was positive and encouraging. We hope to make a decision about the next festival within the next 12 months," he said.

The lineup of entertainment included performances from The Modern Maori Quartet, Arthur Bristowe, the finalists of singing competition Iwi Idol, Pieter T, and Aaradhna who sang with Iwi Idol winner Monique Henare-Urwin.

There was also a range of food to choose like fritters, fried bread, dumplings and hot dogs.

"Icecream and watermelon was a favourite, as were paua and mussel fritters and everything in between - there was something to appease every appetite," Mr Taiaki said.

Meanwhile Toi Ngapuhi, which opened on Thursday and finished on Sunday, was also popular with record sales close to $100,000.

"Many who attended the exhibition opening purchased artwork, with other significant sales happening on the main festival day. Ta Moko live demonstration was very popular, with artists having a full day of tattooing and demonstration of their artistic skills and talent," Mr Taiaki said.