Bay of Plenty : Te Puke
A service town with an urban population of approximately 6,700, "Te Puke" should be pronounced "teh-pook-eh," which means "The Hill" in Maori.
Te Puke's warm climate and fertile volcanic soils make it a very horticultural district, allowing it to grow a wide variety of citrus fruit such as lemons and oranges, in addition to kiwifruit. The town markets itself as the "Kiwifruit capital of the world," and is the center of an industry which supplies a large percentage of the total world production of the fruit. Livestock are also farmed, notably dairy cattle. The surround area contains many fruit orchards and avocado orchards, and supporting these forms the backbone of the region's economy. Many locals also commute to nearby Tauranga and Mount Manganui.
Drive southeast from Tauranga on State Highway 1, or take one of the Bayhopper busses from Tauranga, Mt. Maunganui, or Rotorua. Shuttle busses are also available that will get you to Auckland airport, although the firms operating these (and the tariffs they charge) seem to change quite regularly.
There is no public transport to speak of within the town itself, though long haul bus services and the local Bayhopper buses pass through regularly.
Go swimming on the local beaches at Papamoa (about 10 minutes' drive northeast on State Highway 1, then follow roadsigns), or Maketu (Drive south 4 km or so on State Highway 1, then follow the signs east). Pristine, unspoiled beaches.
There is usually seasonal work available in the kiwifruit industry provided your visa status permits you to work (this is often checked by potential employers). Peak season for picking and packing is from late April through to June. The work can be physically hard but pays a reasonable wage for labor (by New Zealand standards) and is not difficult.
There are numerous few cafes and restaurants on Jellicoe St (State Highway 1 as it goes through Te Puke), all offering reasonable to good food. In addition to the many take-out businesses offering pizza, gyros, a variety of Asian food, and the ubiquitous New Zealand fish and chips, Jellicoe St has a good Indian restaurant (the Mini Punjab) and a few bars that also double as restaurants.
There are bars and pubs on Jellicoe street, though the nightlife is far better in Tauranga and Mt. Maunganui.
There are 2 reasonable camping grounds within easy driving distance that offer a cheaper alternative to staying in a motel. Motels in Te Puke may be a lower cost alternative to those in Tauranga or Rotorua, and the town's location between the two areas makes it a reasonable choice if you are planning to explore the Bay of Plenty.