About $420,000 worth of methamphetamine and $380,000 in cash and assets were seized by police in raids on gang-related operations which saw four people arrested.

During the overnight operation, Rotorua police, the National Organised Crime Group and the National Asset Recovery Unit executed search warrants in Rotorua and Auckland in relation to the alleged sale and supply of methamphetamine.

Rotorua police also worked with iwi under the guidance and korowai of Te Pukenga Koeke O Te Arawa.

Rotorua area commander Inspector Anaru Pewhairangi said police seized hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs and possessions in both Auckland and Rotorua.

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Rotorua area commander Inspector Anaru Pewhairangi (front) leads a press conference on the raids. Photo / Stephen Parker.
Rotorua area commander Inspector Anaru Pewhairangi (front) leads a press conference on the raids. Photo / Stephen Parker.

Police searched six houses and seized one house Rotorua, three firearms, a 30 tonne digger, a recreational fishing boat, four high-end vehicles and a classic car, and $40,000 cash as well as at least 425 grams of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $420,000.

Excluding the drugs, the items seized had an estimated $380,000 to $400,000 value.

Pewhairangi said investigations and searches were ongoing.

Detective Senior Sergeant Eddie Sutherland of the National Organised Crime Group said the investigation had been long-running and targeted an organised crime group which included patched Head Hunters.

He said police were "committed to targeting, prosecuting and seizing the assets of organised criminals who take advantage of the addictiveness of methamphetamine and profit off vulnerable members of society".

"Our message is simple: if you sell drugs, you can expect to be caught and face significant time in prison."

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5 Dec, 2018 12:17pm
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Rotorua police, the National Organised Crime Group and the National Asset Recovery Unit executed search warrants in Rotorua and Auckland overnight. Photo / File
Rotorua police, the National Organised Crime Group and the National Asset Recovery Unit executed search warrants in Rotorua and Auckland overnight. Photo / File

Sutherland said police believed Head Hunters had been trying to establish a presence in Rotorua.

Te Pukenga Koeke O Te Arawa chairman Paraone Pirika said the investigation formed part of an initiative to spread the message to marae about the fight against P.

"We're delivering a message of how this stuff is killing our children. We can't be any more brutal than that. It's killing our children for today and for tomorrow.

"This fight against P is not just ours, this fight is all of ours, it has to be ... Anything that's rotten in our society we have got to take it out."

Pewhairangi said the next steps would be to tackle prevention and early intervention.

"There's plenty of work to be done and the Rotorua police are up to it. We'll take on these challenges because it's the right thing to do."

The four people arrested during the raids appeared in person in the Rotorua District Court today and were remanded in custody without plea to reappear on January 15.

Ngongotahā man Paul Tamai, 56, appeared first. His 10 charges related to offering, supplying and possessing methamphetamine in November and December this year.

A woman appeared shortly after Tamai and was granted interim name suppression by Judge Tony Snell.

Her two charges relate to money laundering, in connection with the alleged methamphetamine ring, between April 2015 and December this year.

She remained silent throughout her appearance and held her hands clasped in front of her body.

Ngongotahā man Dick Dekin Tamai, 39, the son of Paul, appeared on 19 charges covering possession of firearms last month, as well as possessing, offering to supply, and supplying methamphetamine in October, November, and December this year.

Auckland childcare worker Luther Lloyd Toleafoa, 40, appeared on more than 50 charges ranging from threatening grievous bodily harm last month, money laundering from April 2015 to December 2018, to possessing, offering to supply and supplying methamphetamine from April to August this year.

Rotorua councillor Dave Donaldson said the council supported the work police were doing. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua councillor Dave Donaldson said the council supported the work police were doing. Photo / Stephen Parker

Following the police operation, Rotorua deputy mayor Dave Donaldson said the council supported police in "ridding our society of the scourge of methamphetamine and reducing the victimisation".

"There is no room in our society for organised crime."

Te Arawa man and former police officer Ngamaru Raerino said methamphetamine was putting the community in jeopardy.

For help or confidential advice around drug addictions contact the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797.