A senior South African journalist who is in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup was taken to a police station and searched after being accused of peddling drugs in a Taupo bar.

Vata Ngobeni, chief rugby writer for the Pretoria News, has labelled himself "the unlucky black man in Taupo" in a column published overnight in his newspaper.

Read it here.

He told the Herald the police were heavy-handed and unreasonable and the incident had soured his trip to New Zealand.

Other South African journalists here for the Rugby World Cup have called the police actions racist.

However, Inspector Scott Fraser, head of the Bay of Plenty police RWC operation, said he was satisfied Taupo staff dealt with a report from a member of the public about drug-dealing "appropriately and professionally".

Ngobeni was at The Shed Bar about 2am on Sunday when police approached him after searching the toilets.

"They asked me if a bag that was five metres away from me was mine. I said no. Then they said that someone said that I offered them tablets in the toilets. I said to them, 'That's crazy'."

Ngobeni left the bar to talk to the officers and told them who he was and what he was doing in New Zealand.

He said they could search him there, but instead they took him in an unmarked car to the police station.

"I had to take off my shoes, empty my pockets, they searched the inside of my jeans, all that stuff."

South African journalist Michael Mentz, who was in the bar with Ngobeni, took to Twitter to allege the police were racially motivated.

"Thoughts with my travelling comrade @Vata-Ngobeni who was detained in Taupo, New Zealand, for being Black. Racism alive in this place!" Mentz wrote.

Brenden Nel, another South African journalist, tweeted that the police action was "racial profiling at its worst".

"To stop and search and haul an SA journo to a police station because of the way he looks without any evidence is ridiculous," Nel wrote.

However, Mr Fraser said police approached Ngobeni because he fitted a description given by a member of the public who reported a man dealing drugs in the bar.

Ngobeni told the Herald he didn't know if the police actions were racist, but "I felt a little bit out of place after the incident".

The bar's duty manager at the time, who declined to be named, said his staff were surprised when the police approached Ngobeni as he had been there only a short while.

Ngobeni said that when he went to the toilets, there were only two other patrons present, one a "half-collapsed" drunk.

No words were exchanged.

He said he would never use drugs, let alone try to sell them.

"I wish the guys who arrested me were more understanding, instead of taking the word of a drunk."