Rotorua's civic leaders say figures showing the region is leading the country in economic growth is evidence it is on a roll.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the region stood still over the past decade, but there was now a drive to boost the tourism, geothermal, wood and manufacturing industries.
The figures suggest that may be paying off, with Rotorua's 4.3 percent GDP growth for the last quarter the highest in the country, while the wider Bay of Plenty region topped the latest ASB Regional Economic Scorecard with 6.1 percent employment growth.
"I just say we're on the move. I always knew this was a place that needed to happen, wondered why we didn't get those dots in a row, now we've got the plan and we're certainly on a roll," Ms Chadwick said.
Grow Rotorua chief executive Francis Pauwels said a lot of work had been done to change negative perceptions of the region, and that was generating interest from foreign investors.
"We really are on the international radar now, and that's measured by the type on enquiries, they'd be one every week that would come through I would think," he said.
"From all sorts of countries, people think it's Chinese looking to invest, yes we have some of those, but we have people from the Middle East, Europe, America."
Grow Rotorua envisages projects including an international spa complex, a world-class golf course, trail rides, and wood and milk bottling plants could bring investment of $275 million and create 600 new jobs over the next five years.
Ms Chadwick said some of those jobs should help provide employment for the region's large young Māori population.
"We want them to believe there is a job at the end of their schooling, and we want to change those figures on young people, about a thousand that are now not in skills training or a job, and those jobs will be around our wood industry and also the spa, health and wellness."
But Bay of Plenty Regional councillor Arapeta Tahana, who helped establish Te Arawa's new partnership relationship with the Rotorua Council, has reservations about whether those plans will get rangatahi into work.
"We've got a number of young people who are unemployed at the moment and I know the issue is more than just getting them a job because there are jobs around and we've got them into jobs before and they haven't sustained that," he said.
"I don't know what the solution is but there's more than just create the job, we need to be helping them to be strong people."
Mr Tahana said Te Arawa was becoming an increasingly significant player in the Rotorua economy post-treaty settlement, and Māori with experience in the business world are coming home to contribute.