Women are reportedly feeling unsafe in the Redwood Forest after multiple reports of a man scaring them have surfaced this week.

About 4pm Wednesday while Tania Charteris was admiring the view at the top of the familiar track at the isolated top end of Long Mile Rd, a man appeared from behind her.

She said the man said "lost" which alerted her that she was no longer alone.

"I turned around and looked at him and I said, 'if you're lost you probably want to head back in this direction' and I was directing him back down the pathway.


"He said 'I'm always lost and nobody cares in this f****** city' ... at that point I felt intimidated and scared."

She suggested the man head back down the track which he did. But when she glanced back she saw him staring at her.

"I just took the chance and bolted like a bat out of hell. Down a track that had no stairs and it had been raining so it was quite slippery.

"I probably ran out of the bush for about 3.5km before I got to my vehicle and I felt safe."

The lover of the forest said she had her "heart in her hands".

She reported the incident to police but said she no longer wants to go on to that track or indulge in any form of fitness by herself.

"I think as women we should be able to feel happy and safe and be able to go into these spaces feeling all of the above."

A second woman, Barbara Ward, was training for a marathon when she was approached by a man last Saturday.


It's unknown if it was the same man but Ward said the man seemed "unstable" and wanted to know where she was going. Ward gave him an elusive answer.

It wasn't until she came back down the track on her way home that she saw he was waiting for her.

"He said 'well I might as well walk with you.' And I said it was not all right because I like to be alone."

Ward said she walked faster, avoiding eye contact until she got to Te Puia when she realised the man was still behind her.

She decided she did not want to walk home in case he followed her, so she ducked into the Thermal Holiday Park and someone drove her the rest of the way home.

Ward reported the incident to police because she felt intimidated and did not want others to feel unsafe either.

Ward said she had walked all over parts of the country alone and at night and had never felt worried for her safety until that incident.

However, she said it wouldn't stop her using the forest.

Marathon convener for Lakes City Athletics Annemarie Gallagher believed the entire Rotorua community was feeling nervous.

She said the running community was very concerned about safety and hoped the police were vigilant and taking reports seriously.

She was angry people felt scared and unsafe and said the forest was a happy place for many and she felt it had been violated.

A Rotorua Police spokesperson said they were not aware of any recent reports of suspicious behaviour on the Redwood Trails but urged the community to contact police if they felt unsafe.

"It's important to be alert but not alarmed. We encourage people to carry a cell phone or tell someone where they're going and what time they expect to be back."