Rotorua is on the radar as job vacancies soar and the lure of cheaper living beckons.
Those factors have weighed in the city's favour, one recruitment agency says, as the country faces a skills shortage.
Figures from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment show job advertisements in the Bay of Plenty jumped by 4.8 per cent in the quarter to December and 15.1 per cent over the year.
The quarterly increase was attributed to a spike in health care and medical, manufacturing industries, labourers and professional vacancies.
Talent ID director Kellie Hamlett said the demand for quality staff across most sectors was high.
New Zealand was facing skill shortages across a number of key sectors and ''regional New Zealand had always suffered to a degree to attract candidates from the larger centres''.
''This is changing now as Rotorua is recognised as a more attractive lifestyle option in comparison with other regions.''
Administration and professional services roles were still popular and last month it had more than 100 candidates apply for an admin job, she said.
''The new year typically sees an increase in applications as people look to make a change in career after the summer break.''
Wages had also started to move.
''I think as employers strive to attract the right candidates and also retain existing staff, naturally, wages are rising. This is also indicative of continuing and upcoming increases to the minimum wage and also recognition of the living wage.''
''More companies are seeking to offer living wage to their staff as a way of lifting their company culture and employer brand.''
Phill Van Syp, managing director of 1st Call Recruitment, said anyone who walked through its doors has a job and 2019 was shaping up to be busier than ever.
Labourers, tradies and builders were in high demand, he said.
''We are the fastest growing region in the country. Jobs create jobs and that feeds into itself.''
''We are anticipating another boomer year and all the indicators are positive.''
The news comes following the announcement last Wednesday that, the Bay's biggest employer, the kiwifruit industry would need 18,000 workers for the 2019 harvest which prompted a huge campaign.
Kicked off by Kiwifruit Growers Inc, chief executive Nikki Johnson said the labour drive would target local students, unemployed Kiwis, retirees and backpackers ''to show them what the industry can offer and address any misconceptions about the work''.
Meanwhile, Metlifecare Human Resources general manager Huma Houghton said it had five villages in the Bay of Plenty which employed 200 staff.
It would open two new care homes in the region later this year and expected to hire another 100 staff including registered nurses, caregivers, receptionists, kitchen staff, cleaners, activities co-ordinators and diversional therapists.
Every employer faced challenges, she said.
''There is a nationwide shortage of registered nurses that will become more acute in the coming years. We are active in providing feedback to proposed immigration changes and also exploring opportunities to source registered nurses from overseas and support them through attainment of New Zealand qualifications.''
Rex D'Arth from A 1 Cobble Layers said the region was in the grips of a skills shortage.
He had a staff of three and getting qualified bricklayers was a problem.
Yudu editor Helen Van Berkel said Bay of Plenty statistics reflected what was happening elsewhere in the country.
Healthcare workers were the most-sought after on NZME's Yudu employment site after trades and services staff.
"These two sectors are consistent in clamouring for workers and both are proactive when it comes to finding them by seeking immigration changes and actively recruiting," said Van Berkel.
"Although it is definitely a workers' market at the moment, jobseekers need to be realistic about their demands as salaries and wages remain flat and look likely to continue to do so."