A runaway deer has left Rotorua residents questioning their vision after it was seen trotting through Mangakakahi, Utuhina, Fordlands, and Westbrook on Wednesday night.

The young stag broke out of the Silver Fern Farms site on Pururu St, Mangakakahi, during unloading.

A spokesman said it was a "freak occurence" which had only happened once before, 10 years ago.

He said the company "will no longer pursue it and will let it head into the hills".

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"It's a case of the one that got away!"

Police were alerted to the roaming animal walking down Pururu St, at 7pm.

Not long after, local woman Olivia Foster saw the young deer running parallel to her car down Sunset Rd before it ducked down Werrina Cres.

"It was so bizarre, I thought I was seeing things," she told the Rotorua Daily Post.

"I didn't stop because I didn't even register what was going on until after it happened. You don't really expect to see a live deer in the suburbs! I guess I'm just really lucky it decided to run behind my car."

Foster's sister and her fiance did not believe her until they saw a video of the deer uploaded on the Rotorua Daily Post Facebook page.

ROTORUA DAILY POST
19 Jan, 2019 6:29pm
4 minutes to read

The video was taken by Garth Carrington, a hunter, who determined the animal was a young stag after seeing it's small, velvety antlers.

"It was running next to me in my truck for a little while ... It came out of Utuhina Stream near the Wrigley Rd corner and it ran out on the footpath and verge beside me for about 150m."

He said the "poor thing was petrified".

"It was pretty tired so it was obviously running for a while. When I pulled over I called the police because a young stag like that could hurt someone."

Carrington hoped the "funny old thing" made it to the paddocks at the other end of Sunset Rd.

The young stag was also spotted in Campbell Pl, north of Sunset Rd, by resident Leanne Mansell before being seen south of Sunset Rd, on Pandora Ave, near the corner with Orion St.

Prue Cropp was sitting on the deck of her Pandora Ave home when she saw the deer go up her neighbour's drive.

"The cute part about it was my eldest daughter saying 'Mum that's a reindeer'."

She said the kids were "all amazed".

The deer was also seen on the Westbrook School field.

Ryan Mitchell, 14, was playing football with his older brother and two friends, when "all of a sudden we saw the deer jump over the fence and then run around the field".

"We thought we were hallucinating ... It then jumped over the corner fence and ran to the corner of Petrie St and Malfroy Rd. There were people driving past trying to follow where it went."

He photographed the deer but said the group kept their distance.

"We knew it could be a bit dangerous. At one point it left for a few minutes and we all started laughing at the picture I got of it, and then it came back... It was such a weird sight."

Westbrook School principal Colin Watkins was at the school that day but did not see the animal.

"If we had, we could've had a few venison steaks to hand round on the first day back at school."

The council's community and regulatory services manager Neven Hill said Silver Fern Farms notified the council of the animal's escape from its premises last night.

"The company is looking for the stag and council's animal control has offered support if needed.

"We haven't received any reports about spotting the animal today, however we do encourage motorists and people on foot in the Fordlands and Westbrook suburbs to be cautious if they see the deer which will be frightened."