There's an unpleasant stench in the air and I'm not talking about Rotorua's Whakarewarewa or Tauranga's southern pipeline.
It's a metaphorical stink that has really got up my nose recently.
The pong is racism and its re-emergence in the Bay of Plenty.
Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance steering committee spokeswoman Kim Williams greeted the audience at the group's recent launch with a short mihi whakatau (greeting) in te re Māori.
She was jeered at by some in the audience and told to "speak English".
A petition to "return democracy" to New Zealanders who don't identify as Māori following recent government initiatives such as Māori wards or the Māori Health Authority was recently circulated, and it horrifyingly attracted more than 2500 signatures.
These are just several recent, high-profile examples that in my opinion reek of racism, but I'm sure there are countless incidents that go unreported.
This abhorrent undercurrent is starting to rear its head and it's worrying.
I believe racism is alive and well in our region thanks to Donald Trump.
A bit of a stretch? Not really, in my view.
While in office, he banned Muslims from entering the US, his platform was to "Build That Wall" between the US and Mexico, he's labelled African countries as "s***holes", he's pandered to white supremacists and has called Covid-19 the "Chinese virus" and "kung flu". You get the gist.
Trump's rhetoric has emboldened his base to be more vocal, more vile and even more destructive in their hatred.
I believe this has led those who agree with him around the world and here in the Bay of Plenty to give themselves permission to voice their thoughts.
The very fact that some people think it's okay to yell at someone speaking an official language of Aotearoa to "speak English" is unbelievable and inconceivable in 2021.
This is a famous, and ironically sexist, quote but it's true: "The only necessary thing for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
For racism to exist or even thrive needs good people to be too scared to call it out, not say anything, sweep it under the rug.
Well, the time for keeping quiet is over. Call out the racists, educate them about their ignorance – it'll be a breath of fresh air.