The methamphetamine problem at Whatuwhiwhi had reached the point where children were now being targeted as potential users.
So a public meeting of more than 100 people, many of whom had marched to the Karikari Community Hall, heard on Saturday, one speaker saying that the drug, and other abuse, was "destroying their little souls."
"These kids are broken, but no one is listening to or supporting them or their families," she said.
"We have a Pākehā system that is doing some wonderful mahi, but we need a different perspective. It has to be kaupapa Māori.
"The people who know what's happening - parents, grandparents - aren't being listened to, and now it is not safe in this community to take on (raise) your mokopuna."
The difficulties were exacerbated by government agency contracts that ran for three months, and then ended.
"We are giving them hope and then taking it away," she said.
"The more people are let down the more they give up."
Children in the community were now showing signs of trauma, and the priority now had to be preventing them from becoming the next generation of methamphetamine users.
"Where we have P we also have paedophiles," she added.
"These kids are being sexually abused. It is destroying their little souls."
Another woman said she had stood up to a dealer, a cousin, and had reported him to the police.
"We confronted him in our family, and we will keep confronting him," she said.
She wanted him to face up to the community at Haititaimarangai Marae, failing which she believed he should be trespassed, from the marae and the urupa.
"He's a bully. He thinks he can get away with it. He drives around like a lunatic, and even that needs to be reported," she said.
Northland DHB clinician Rob Oxborough said the community needed a strategy, and equally importantly a safety plan.
"Where you see activity, illegal or otherwise, the safety aspect always has to be considered," he said.
"You need to approach the problem, but how? You need a strategy. You probably need some sort of working group to come up with rules of engagement.
"Talk to each other all the time," he added.
"I'm not saying dob these people in, but if what they are doing is illegal, if it is hurting our people, maybe that's what needs to happen.
"Identify these people and call whānau hui - that's if they want to engage - but your safety has to be #1."
Another piece of advice was not to give money to those using methamphetamine, however much they asked for help paying their rent or power bills.