Bullets are flying and buildings damaged by fire, bringing fear to locals as gangs fight each other. Leaders are calling for more resources before an innocent person is killed.
Tauranga's mayor is calling for more resources to crack down on gangs in the Bay following a spree of violent attacks.
Tenby Powell said local businesses had already become "collateral damage" and it was only a matter of time before members of the public would be "caught in the crossfire" between warring gangs.
Last Monday, The Faded N Bladed barber shop and tattoo studio on Chadwick St was gutted by fire, damaging the neighbouring businesses - Curry Planet and Ruk Thai takeaways, and the Tauranga South City Baptist Church's hub at the back of the building.
The barber shop windows were smashed the Friday before and the property was also set ablaze on New Year's Eve.
Police believe the barber shop, which was yet to open for business, had links to the Mongols.
This was followed by what was suspected to be a revenge, or warning, shooting in the residential Tauranga suburb of Hairini.
Detectives investigating the shooting at Hairini theorised the attack was ordered by the Mongols, who blame the Mongrel Mob for the barber shop fire.
Within hours, there were reports of semi-automatic gunfire at a rural address in Te Puke where members of the Mongol Nation live.
"These people have lost their business, certainly for an indefinitely period but perhaps forever. That is collateral damage ... from alleged gang activity."
"If this continues we're in a lot of trouble."
Powell said he had heard from "scared" community members and had spoken at length to Western Bay police leaders.
He commended the police for their work and said he had offered any help the council could provide but, in his view, the Government needed to provide more help.
Powell has called on the Government to bring more police and resources to Tauranga to address the gang issues.
He also wanted the Government to do more on a national scale about the supply of meth – a problem he recognised was expensive and resource-intensive.
The two issues were linked, he said, with gang members deported from Australia setting up new chapters of the Mongols, Banditos and Comancheros in New Zealand.
"They're fighting against each other for the supply and distribution of drugs because there is so much money to be made."
He said he would work with other Bay council leaders on ways to address the issues.
"Every Government talks tough about gangs in some way ... talking is all very fine but let's actually do something."
He had been contacted by a number of residents who were "very concerned".
Gang expert Dr Jarrod Gilbert, director of criminal justice at the University of Canterbury, said gang violence would get worse.
He said while the majority of gang violence was contained within themselves, civilians might get caught in the crossfire.
Gangs had been growing since 2008 when the Rebels arrived in New Zealand, the last time growth was seen like this was in the 70s and 80s.
"New gangs have established here and existing gangs have swelled in number, as a response."
He said the violence was "utterly inevitable" when opposing gangs encroached on one another's territory.
Gilbert said drugs were a small part of the equation and growing numbers were also linked to a sense of brotherhood and status.
"Until the growth is stabilised, we will see more violence," he said.
"When people are firing shots in public, then there is a threat to people outside of the gang realm."
Minister of Police Stuart Nash said people could be reassured by more armed police on Bay of Plenty streets over the next few days, in response to gang rivalry flaring up.
Since 2015, more than 1800 offenders have been deported from Australia.
"These returning offenders are bringing a level of professional organisation and business skills to the meth trade which has not been seen before," he said.
Nash said while there were record numbers of police on the frontline, officers "cannot simply arrest their way out of the gang problem".
"The 25-year-old gang members getting arrested today were drifting teenagers when the first Australian gang, the Rebels, arrived a decade ago. Those teenagers also faced poverty, mental health and addiction issues, and unemployment. The gang problem is more than a police problem.
Since 2017 Police have also seized cash and assets of more than $100 million from gangs.
"But let's not kid ourselves it's only people wearing patches who are driving this. Recent meth busts have involved the arrest of business professionals like lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, sports stars, media personalities, as well as foreign nationals from the UK, Canada, and Australia. Their money laundering and other activity enables gang offending."
Rotorua MP Todd McClay said an innocent life would be lost if the gang problem in the Bay of Plenty was not taken seriously.
He met with residents and said there was fear and growing animosity in the wider Te Puke area.
Firearms going off and police cars in the area added to the fears of residents.
"If we're seeing many more gang members in the Bay of Plenty and around the country, eventually, they're going to start fighting each other for drug territory."
He said the Government needed to take the issue seriously and provide police with the tools to "smash up these gangs".
"They aren't feeling safe and secure any more," he said.
Western Bay of Plenty Police Area Commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said each of the incidents was being investigated separately but police were looking at any possible links between them and any potential gang involvement.
"We know our communities are understandably concerned about recent events," he said.
"We continue to maintain a visible presence in those communities where there are heightened concerns, and will continue to assess this on a regular basis."
Police have asked people to be vigilant and report any activity of concern so police could take action where appropriate.