Tauranga’s CBD is alive with change. We take a look around.

WORDS JENNY RUDD/ PHOTOS CHRIS PARKER + GEORGE NOVAK

At UNO, we love to celebrate, and the change going on in the Tauranga CBD has us pretty excited. Every time we pass through, there’s something different to see, and as the dust settles after each project, there’s distinct pride building in the people who visit, live, work and play in our city centre.

Kim Smythe and Noel Cimadom of the Clarence Hotel have invested a huge amount of money and staked their livelihood on one of the city’s most beautiful yet previously disused buildings: the old post office on Willow Street. There’s absolutely nothing else in our city like the hotel, bistro and bar they’ve opened.

The new tidal steps on the waterfront have brought us closer to the ocean; Instagram’s full of cool pics of children bombing off the wharf and families like the Matthews hanging out on the steps. And just recently, the University of Waikato city centre campus has opened a whole year ahead of schedule – amazing!

Chair of the city transformation committee, councillor Larry Baldock, says, “There’s an enormous amount of investment going on, like the $130 million Farmers project. That doesn’t happen without a massive amount of confidence in the city centre’s future.”

Mark Irving of Priority One has noticed big changes in the two years he’s been here, too. “We’re seeing lots of activity from local businesses that are doing well and looking to expand here, and the CBD is a lively place to be from morning till night. This will only get better as we look forward to having more people living in the city centre.”

Below, we talk to others who are as amped about what’s going on in town as we are.

TAURANGA TIDAL STEPS: Tiffany Matthews (above) –Tauranga local. “My husband, Tukara [pictured top], and I often bring our family down to the tidal steps that started the multimillion dollar transformation of the CBD. We like to join our children playing in the water and love jumping off the wharf in warm weather. We’re really proud to live in such a vibrant city.”

WORKING IN THE CITY: Ashleigh Cleaver (above) – Trustpower community & communications advisor. “In the mornings, I beat the traffic and give my physical and mental health a boost by walking or biking over the Matapihi Bridge to my job at Trustpower. There’s a really strong business community here with some pretty cool places to hang out in.”

FARMERS DEVELOPMENT: Courtney Bertram (above) – Hawkins site foreman. “Running the work teams on this site is an exciting and dynamic job. As well as the new Farmers store, the development includes 24 townhouses, 96 high-end apartments, double the number of carparks, two floors of retail, a first-floor dining precinct and an Italian swimming pool on the roof!”

UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO: Watene Moon (above) – Bachelor of Teaching student. “I’m buzzing about being one of the first students at this world-class university campus with the waterfront right on its doorstep. I’m a big fan of this high-tech research and innovation centre, which is also available for the community to use. Seeing the talent and skills around me in Tauranga makes me feel good about our future.”

Follow our city’s fantastic progress at: TAURANGA.GOVT.NZ/HEART-OF-THE-CITY