A report detailing the five biggest issues facing the Rotorua district has been labelled spot on by relevant industries.

The Geyser Community Foundation's Vital Signs 2018 research project for the Rotorua district was released today.

Vital Signs is a research tool used to understand residents' perceptions of the place they call home. The report looks at the social, environmental, cultural and economic wellbeing of communities, identifying strengths, and areas for improvement according to local people.

The report identified the five biggest issues facing the district, as identified by the 874 locals who participated.


They are: drug and alcohol abuse, cost of living, availability of jobs, poverty and homelessness, and planning for the district's growth.

Lifewise Rotorua service manager Haehaetu Barrett said the issue of drugs and alcohol and homelessness were key for the organisation.

Donna Blair. Photo / File
Donna Blair. Photo / File

She said Lifewise worked in the community to address issues like those in the report.

One way it was doing that was with the Rotorua community head count next week.

"What we're going to do is split the region into areas of highlighted concerns where there are rough sleepers and have people going in to see what services they require," Barrett said.

"We're hoping we can provide some immediate response in two of those areas; drugs and alcohol and homelessness."

Barrett said one issue which could fit on the list was that of youth suicide.

"We need to look at what's happening in our young people's environment."


Wera Aotearoa Charitable Trust
general manager Israel Hawkins said the list of issues was "bang on".

"It's quite easy to identify the needs of the community when they rotate around each other. For example homelessness is related to poverty," Hawkins said.

"There's a lot of interconnectivity."

Hawkins said poverty was at the core of multiple issues.

He said some issues which belonged on the list were youth employment, crime and health.

Te Utuhina Manaakitanga general manager Donna Blair, however, said the report compiled people's perceptions.

"I think that what happens in society is we create these perceptions that we choose to believe and that first one, drug and alcohol abuse, while for some families that's a significant issue, it's not necessarily an issue for everyone," Blair said.

"What I'm going to say is that we see a number of people who choose to address their drinking and drugging they choose to seek treatment and often have great outcomes so we have a large recovery movement in Rotorua."

Blair said some of the top five issues also went hand in hand and were related.

However, she wasn't sure how accurate the report was given the number of respondents.

The report also identified the top five things locals love about living in Rotorua. They are: the natural environment, climate and air quality; connectedness – friends, whanau, community, support; recreation, parks and reserves; Maori heritage, culture, arts; and restaurants and shopping.

A separate report for Taupo was also released.

Both reports were revealed at a launch event yesterday.

Vital Signs 2018 for the Rotorua and Taupo districts is a collaborative project between the Geyser Community Foundation, BayTrust, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua Lakes Council.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's integrated planning manager David Phizecklea said the council contributed a total of $15,000 to four Vital Signs reports produced in the Bay of Plenty.

Regional council staff also reviewed the draft reports, contributed key information and helped with graphic design.

Phizecklea said the report would help the council ensure its work was focused on things that mattered most to locals.

He said many of the concerns in the report, like protecting the natural environment, air quality, managing climate change and planning for growth, were echoed in the Proposed 2018-2028 Long Term Plan.

"The Rotorua Vital Signs report found that the natural environment and air quality are key things locals love about living in Rotorua. Bay of Plenty Regional Council takes a lead role in the management of those, so it's great to see that our work ... to protect them is valued."

• Copies of the Vital Signs 2018 reports for the Rotorua and Taupo Districts are available on Geyser's website, www.geysercf.org.nz.