A man has admitted he ran a sophisticated indoor cannabis growing operation from his Rotorua home that included doctoring his meter so he could steal power.

When police raided Michael Craig Zander's Lisa Cres house in Western Heights on May 30, they found up to $45,000 worth of cannabis and several thousand dollars worth of equipment used to run a specialised growing operation.

Zander has admitted charges of cultivating cannabis, procuring or possessing cannabis plant, possession of equipment to cultivate cannabis and theft to the value over $1000.

Details of the drug growing house are revealed in a police summary of facts which have been released this week following a request from the Rotorua Daily Post.


On May 30, police searched Zander's house and found a well-equipped indoor growing operation with cannabis growing in two garages at the property.

Zander had gone to considerable effort and expense to construct and outfit the garages with equipment to turn parts of them into two purpose-built cannabis growing rooms.

One room in a garage at the rear of the property was 2.9m wide by 1.6m deep and had been partitioned off and lined with reflectorised plastic.

A large extractor fan and filter suspended from the ceiling had been installed to remove the pungent smell of the cannabis.

Also suspended from the ceiling were two large grow lamps and shades.

There were two oscillating pedestal fans and an oil column heater.

There were 19 cannabis plants in large pots or planter bags, 14 of which were up to 70cm tall. The other five were up to 30cm tall.

The second growing room was inside a garage at the front of the property and was 4.2m long and 1.6m wide.


It was also lined with plastic and there were two large extractor fans and filters suspended from the ceiling along with two large grow lamps and shades. There were two oscillating fans, a suspended fan and two large heaters.

This room had 22 plants that were about 60cm tall.

Inside the office at the rear garage was a fridge freezer and chest freezer. In each were bags of frozen cannabis leaf material packaged in plastic shopping bags. There were nine plastic bags in total containing 3.23kg of green low grade cannabis leaf, commonly referred to as cabbage.

In another plastic bag in the office was 149g of loose high grade cannabis head material as well as a glad sandwich bag packed with 20g of cannabis head material.

In total there were 41 plants valued at between $36,900 and $43,050.

The bagged cannabis head was estimated to be worth between $1800 and $2100 and the frozen leaf material about $700.

The total value was up to $45,850.

There was an extensive amount of cultivation paraphernalia found as well as receipts for equipment dating back to 2004. All purchases had been made in cash.

The summary said the way in which he was growing cannabis required a lot of power that was operating for more than 12 hours a day, as well as heating and ventilation equipment, which was constantly running.

The summary said he modified the back of his power board where the electricity meter was so the power supplies to both garages were by-passing the meter and not being recorded.

Only electricity to his house was being measured. TrustPower was seeking reparation for the theft of power but the exact amount stolen was yet to be advised, the summary said.

When police spoke with Zander, he said he had been growing cannabis for only two years and it was all for his own use.

He has been remanded on bail to reappear in court on October 4 when a sentencing date would be set.

TrustPower general manager customer operations Fiona Smith told the Rotorua Daily Post while the company cannot comment on this specific case, stealing power was "reasonably rare".

"We work closely with the police should unusual patterns of usage occur. Retailers have a number of ways of monitoring usage and detecting anomalies that then lead to prosecution."