Māori land owners fight back against drug users using communal land to get high in Rotorua

Rotorua Māori land owners are fighting back against drug users who are using communally-owned whenua to get high.

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A landblock at Ohinemutu, on the edge of Lake Rotorua, is intended as a spot for whānau to enjoy, but is now known by some as Dak Pt. Source: 1 NEWS

Lani Kereopa lives at Ohinemutu on the edge of Lake Rotorua. The village is centrally located in the city – a byproduct of the fact that iwi gifted land for Rotorua to be built.

But that proximity to town has meant a whole lot of trouble over the years as first marijuana users, and then P users, nipped down to the village to get high.

"I guess because we haven't developed the land, the general Rotorua public have kind of viewed it as a public space, but we were happy to share. But like a lot of our special places, I guess, particularly Māori-owned places, people started to come and abuse the area," Ms Kereopa said.

"I guess people think of it as a convenient place to pop down to the village, have a sesh or a place to come and hang out with the mates for a few hours and have a drink."

Ms Kereopa outlined her frustration in a recent Facebook post that gained more than a thousand reactions.

In blunt terms, she told people the place that had become locally known as Dak Point was now closed for casual drug use.

Acting Rotorua Area Commander Brendon Keenan praised the move.

"Police certainly support the stance this community is taking in preventing the location being used as a location to light-up and, in general, [committing] disorderly type behaviour," Mr Keenan said.

Police will also be increasing routine patrols through the area, but also asked that registration plates from vehicles and names of those breaching the peace be passed on.

In the meantime, with summer approaching, Ms Kereopa said the intention wouldn't be to keep locals out completely.

People were still welcome to fish and enjoy the space, but without the drugs and alcohol, she said.