Over the past few days we have seen the best and the worst of Rotorua.

The Lions visit may have had its hiccups - long waits for taxis, big queues for a beer, not to mention that disappointing result - but overall it was a roaring success.

The atmosphere around town was electric on Saturday and locals and visitors alike had ear-to-ear grins as they lapped up the hospitality. Cash registers were working overtime as the visitors not only spent their hard-earned euros and pounds here, but shared their positive experience with many more back home.

Despite a cold, wet night and a less than inspiring game, the crowd was well-behaved and happy, people were patient and Brits, Irish and Kiwis made new friends.


As for that record-breaking haka on Saturday, the community spirit on show was enough to bring a tear to the eye.

There was so much great publicity for our city and more importantly, so many reasons for Rotorua people to feel good about themselves and the place they choose to call home.

And then, yesterday, a small group of people brought an abrupt end to that good feeling.

A scary gang incident on one of Rotorua's main streets in the middle of the day, with innocent people caught up in it.

While we have much to be proud about, there remain serious issues with gangs and violence in our city.

A gang member's comment that "this is only the beginning" may just be bravado. Or he may be correct. Either way, it's a worrying sign.

Because it's not just gang members who are at risk any more - it's the average Joe on the street, and it's the reputation of the city.

20 Jun, 2017 8:00am
3 minutes to read