A festival which has pumped millions of dollars into the Kaikohe community will bring a "significant" boost to Whangarei after organisers moved the event to be closer to Auckland.
The biennial Ngapuhi Festival, hosted by Te Runanga-A-Iwi O Ngapuhi, has been held in Kaikohe since 2004, except for when it was held in Auckland in 2011, boosting the local economy by about $5m some years.
But Tio Taiaki, event manager, said the decision was made to shift the free event to Whangarei's Toll Stadium next year after post-festival surveys said Ngapuhi in Auckland and Whangarei wanted it held closer to where they lived.
Mr Taiaki said this year's event is estimated to bring upwards of $5m to Whangarei.
Paul Davis, Northland Inc's regional promotions and tourism general manager, said from a commercial point of view Kaikohe's loss was Whangarei's gain, but said the event would benefit the whole of Northland.
"Obviously it's a benefit for Whangarei accommodation providers, retail, food and beverage. An extra $5m being spent in the local economy is going to be significant.
"We would expect some people will circulate throughout Northland, just not spend all of their time in Whangarei only," he said.
The festival is being held on Saturday, January 27 which is Auckland/Northland anniversary weekend. About 40,000 people are expect at the event.
Mr Davis said it was a "really good" time to host a festival as it was in between the Christmas/New Year peak and the international tourism peak in February.
"It's actually a good time to maximise the benefit, and use capacity."
Mr Taiaki said the impact the Ngapuhi Festival has had on Kaikohe was considered when making the decision to move the event to Whangarei.
"It was the Kaikohe Business Association who told us in 2016 that the event doesn't directly or significantly contribute to increased business in the Kaikohe business district over two days, as everyone stays at festival all day, and will typically stay overnight with friends and family," he said.
Mark Anderson, chairman of the Kaikohe Business Association, did not respond by edition time yesterday but earlier said having it in Kaikohe would have a positive economic impact on the population that needs it most.
Next year's festival will include a giant water slide which fits with the theme of "ko au te wai, ko te wai ko au - I am the water and the water is me".
Entertainment will include performances from New Zealand R&B and soul singer Aaradhna, soulful roots reggae band Paua, and the melodic Modern Maori Quartet.
Renowned Maori art exhibition Toi Ngapuhi will also return next year with over 50 Ngapuhi and Maori artists exhibiting world-class clay, glass, painting, sculpture and mixed media artworks.
The exhibition will be held in the level two lounge at Toll Stadium from Thursday, January 25 to Sunday, January 28.
Visit ngapuhifestival.com for more information.