Paymark figures show spending was up 7.1 percent between March 2015 and March 2016.
Paymark chief marketing officer Tim McFarlane said factors commentators have attributed to strong spending growth in New Zealand were reflected in transactions on the network.
These include rising GDP and incomes, strong tourism and immigration, as well as higher house prices.
However, in the month of March, Paymark transactions only increased by 0.3 percent. McFarlane attributed this to spending momentum slowing.
In contrast to the Bay of Plenty, spending in Auckland and Northland only grew by 6.3 percent, Wellington by 6.8 percent and Canterbury by 4.8 percent.
Spending across New Zealand in the week ending Easter Monday was down 2.4 percent when compared to the previous three weeks.
Easter trading's effect on regional spending varied, with spending in Canterbury decreasing 7.6 percent spending on the West Coast increasing 8.7 percent.
Spending in Wellington and Auckland was also noticeably much lower than the rest of the country.
McFarlane says regions outside the major centres, such as Otago and Marlborough, benefited from domestic tourist spending over the Easter break.
“Shop closures on some days do mean lower spending overall during Easter but, of more significance to the smaller regions, spending increased sharply in the resort regions,” McFarlane says.
“In dollar terms, the $3.6 million gain in transactions in Bay of Plenty (6.9 percent) was highest. Not surprisingly, the food service and accommodation sectors in the Bay of Plenty benefitted most.”
Spending at food and service merchants in the Bay of Plenty soared $1.5 million higher in the week of Easter than the previous three weeks, up 20.4 percent.
Accommodation merchants also experienced a $1 million boost, up 38.9 percent.
In wider New Zealand, the experience economy also boomed through March.
Spending at accommodation merchants grew 18.6 percent, while those selling housing and DIY products saw sales increase 12 percent.