A driver caught speeding at 123km/h in residential Tauranga did so because he was trying to show off to his mates in the car.

The man, in his 30s, was caught towards the end of last year by police on Ngatai Rd, Otumoetai - a 50km/h zone with schools and churches.

Western Bay of Plenty head of road policing Acting Senior Sergeant Wayne Hunter said the speed was one of the highest he had seen in an urban area.

"When I saw him, he hit my radar first. It just went berserk and then this car was doing Warp Factor 9 coming towards me."


The car only slowed down after Hunter followed with police lights and sirens, signalling it to stop.

As Hunter spoke with the driver, a local resident pulled up and "really started laying into him". The resident told Hunter he had seen the car go past his home repeatedly at excessive speeds and it made him angry.

The driver told police he was showing off to his mates in the car.

"It's concerning - travelling at a speed like that. It's totally irresponsible," Hunter said.

"He could have killed anyone walking along the road. There was no way he could have stopped if a child ran out or if an older person crossed the road.

"It was totally dangerous behaviour."

The man was charged with dangerous speed and eventually fined and disqualified from driving for six months.

"It's unusual that we actually catch them doing that speed," Hunter said.


"We do get complaints about cars speeding with estimates of how fast but if we aren't there all the time to catch them it can be quite difficult."

Ngatai Rd residents said motorists often came flying through the roundabout with Otumoetai Rd and "zoomed" down the straight that led to Queen Rd.

A resident, who would only be known as Betty, said cars "always with souped-up engines" would reach speeds of about 80km/h to 100km/h most nights.

"It's reckless, going up to that sort of speed. There are often pedestrians, people walking home."

The speed a car was recorded travelling at oin a 50km/h zone in residential Tauranga. Photo/supplied
The speed a car was recorded travelling at oin a 50km/h zone in residential Tauranga. Photo/supplied

Jackson Maioha said it was easy to see why people sped along the wide, straight stretch of road after the roundabout but it was dangerous.

"One of my mates got pulled up just the other day for doing 100km/h or something. So he lost his licence," he said.

Maioha said speeding in the area was a problem and blamed impatient drivers but also noted there were no speed signs anywhere along the stretch of road. The only sign is a painted 50km/h on the road.

Fellow resident Chynna Te Hira said she would like to see speed bumps and speed signs installed.

"People speed here all of the time. It's just normal now. It's been happening for too long."

Tauranga City Council transportation manager Martin Parkes said he was not aware of the speeding issue on Ngatai Rd but speed detection equipment and signs could be arranged for the area in the new year.

"If Ngatai Rd is seen as a problem we'll consider the appropriate steps to make the environment as safe as possible for all road users ... we take matters of road safety very seriously."

Big TEL speeders keeping police busy

It might be one of New Zealand's two fastest roads but police are still catching people travelling at "dangerous" speeds on the Tauranga Eastern Link.

Western Bay of Plenty acting head of the road policing Sergeant Wayne Hunter said the highway was a hot spot for big-ticket speedsters and catching people speeding above 130km/h was "not uncommon on a daily basis".

"Generally, everyone we catch speeding on it is doing big speeds."

Hunter said there were not many drivers travelling more than 200km/h but plenty travelling at 150km/h to 160 km/h. This included a German tourist caught driving at 164km/h on the highway.

"She did not realise there was a speed limit," he said.

"She thought it was like the autobahn where there is no speed limit."

People must remember if they were caught travelling 40km/h over the speed limit they lost their licence for 28 days, he said.

The increased speed limit of 100km/h to 110km/h last month had made little difference to people's driving behaviour, Hunter said.

"People are still sticking around 100km/h, we aren't really getting anyone going much above 110km/h unless they are doing the big speeds."

Speeding penalties

Speeding fines increase progressively from $30 for speeds less than 10 km/h over the limit, to a maximum fine of $630 for speeds up to 50km/h over the limit. At more than 40 km/h above the speed limit, you could also get a 28-day licence suspension. At more than 50 km/h over the limit, you could be charged with careless, dangerous or reckless driving.