Calls for the Government to pump more funding into the creative sector - which already injects $17.5 billion to the country's GDP and supports 131,000 jobs - could have big spinoffs for the Bay.
Heavyweights in the creative sector, which encompasses game development, animation, design and performing arts, say it is evolving at pace.
However, it needed clear pathways to commercialisation and changes to the education system in order to maximise opportunities.
A report titled Unleashing New Zealand's Creative Economy released by UP Education and Yoobee Colleges states creativity and technology at school level is crucial and entrepreneurs should be equipped with skills essential for growing a successful business.
Although digital technology had been introduced into the curriculum, only 400 out of 35,000 teachers could teach it.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said Tauranga had many artists, but it had only recently become a viable path of employment for many entrepreneurs.
''Many artists have really benefited from the age of social media and e-commerce. They are able to reach new customers by showing their talents online – the crazier and more contentious, the better chance of their work going viral and building their personal brand.
''It's never been easier to start a business – it just takes five minutes entering your details and payment to the NZ companies register online.''
Tauranga was becoming a powerful innovation hub where people with the ideas could work with businesses and access funding, including via angel investors.
''Technology and the arts will combine over the next few decades. Almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, which creates opportunities for lots of businesses to benefit from augmented reality to tell stories and show what's possible.'
''This includes construction and real estate, through to very clever marketing creatives wanting to capture people's attention.''
Rotorua Economic Development interim chief executive Andrew Wilson said the creative sector was a hugely important industry for Rotorua.
''It has been significant to our people and place from both a cultural identity perspective and an economic development perspective. We can look to outstanding examples such as the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, Digital Natives Academy and the recently opened Waiariki Film Studios to see that as a city, we are already realising the potential within our communities and have been for a very long time.''
Recognition of this industry as one with massive growth potential can be clearly seen within the Economic Development Strategy Framework as a core focus area for our city, he said.
Otumoetai College principal Russell Gordon said there had been an increase in the uptake of creative courses.
''Compared to 10 years ago, a number of students are now looking at jobs such as social media directors and social media analysts. Students are showing an increased interest in the journalism sector with the rise of ezines and websites.
''There is also an upsurge in interest of students looking to create apps, or online games, or the development of characters and their backstories.''
He said the college offered subjects that included a range of science options, along with a full suite of technology-rich subjects.
But there was ''an alarming shortfall of technology teachers being trained across the country''.
He said despite the college being in a desirable part of the country and able to choose the best teachers, that did not extend to all areas of technology.
''A recent example of this was in our inability to source a fixed-term textiles teacher to fill a maternity vacancy. As a compromise, we had no option but to hire a fashion designer to provide the textiles knowledge for our students, as well as an additional technology teacher to ensure that we covered the technology curriculum.
''We need to make it easier for people who are the answer to these skill shortages to join the teaching fraternity.''
Tauranga Boys' College deputy principal Rob Gilbert said every one of its 2200 students had a digital learning device, laptop, Chromebook or iPad.
''We integrate that into our learning. It's the world we live in. So we are using tools that teachers didn't have five to 10 years ago.''
Students were working to enhance their creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.
Gilbert said STEM subjects were already being taught in schools, and to embed generalist creativity and technology into the curriculum at all levels, ''something will have to give''.
He agreed with the need for an increased focus on reversing New Zealand's declining reading, mathematics and science achievement levels.
''We are falling way behind in literacy and numeracy across the OECD and there is no point in being a creative genius if you can't communicate your ideas.''
UP Education Group chief executive Mark Rushworth said by working together, the creative economy can play a central role in New Zealand's economic rebuild.
''The reality is that if you are in business and not thinking about how the creative technology sector can inform what you do, then you risk being left behind.''
Yoobee Colleges chief executive Ana Maria Rivera said in 2020, Yoobee launched
a series of new courses to meet the immediate needs of Aotearoa's creative industry.
High school leavers also needed to be armed with the knowledge to make the right decisions about where they want to work.
NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller said creative technologies present a whole new
pathway of employment and education ''if we can crank that sector up''.
''If we understand the value of creativity enough and that it needs to be deployed into the technological element of enabling other sectors, then you can think of the spillover into retail, manufacturing, tourism, hospitality and law.''
These things constantly need better user interfaces and better human experience around them.
''You're not going to get there with programmers. You're going to get it from creative people."
New Zealand's interactive gaming sector exports reached more than $300m in 2020 and the growth of film and television industry was also paying big dividends.
Minister for Economic Development Stuart Nash said there would always be a role for central government support for the economic development of the creative sector.
''The sector supports the development of newcomers and established players in our creative industries, be they film, TV, music, drama, performance, the digital sector or heritage facilities like museums and galleries.''
Crown support was managed across portfolios, because the creative sector doesn't fall neatly into one industry description.
''We are committed to enhancing the success of the sector, not only because of the inherent cultural value enjoyed by New Zealanders, but because we acknowledge a thriving creative industry delivers economic benefits.''
Ministry of Education deputy secretary of early learning and student achievement, Ellen MacGregor-Reid, said the ministry knows some schools face challenges recruiting STEM teachers.
''To help we have targeted domestic initiatives that include specialist recruitment support and relocation grants to help teachers take up new roles.''
The ministry also had work programmes over the next four years to refresh the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautangao Aotearoa, with the aim of better supporting teachers to lift achievement and create more engaging learning experiences.
''This includes updating the science, mathematics and statistics, and technology learning areas. We are also addressing the decline in achievement through the NCEA Change Package.''