A gang standoff at a popular Rotorua lake during which a firearm was shot into the air has frightened and angered residents and lake users.
Some of those at Lake Ōkareka on Sunday afternoon have told the Rotorua Daily Post there was a verbal stoush between rival gangs just before 5pm at the boat ramp on Acacia Bay Rd.
They said it appeared they were arguing over who was there first and as a result a person fired a shot into the air.
A police spokesman said no one was injured and police were continuing to make inquiries as to whether it was gang-related.
A Rotorua resident at the lake with family including young grandchildren said a "goon" discharged a shotgun into the air to intimidate opposing gang members.
"He was only 20m from where my grandkids were playing on the jetty."
He said the family left.
"I've had a gutsful of these munters buggering up our town."
A nearby resident said he and family members went to the boat ramp to watch a large boat being put in the water.
He said they noticed about 30 people with gang colours and tattoos gathered around a barbecue area.
Three carloads of other people arrived who, although were not wearing colours, looked like gang members, he said. They started swimming in the lake.
A short time later, one of the men walking along the jetty began arguing with those standing near the barbecue area.
"They were mouthing off to each other along the lines of they have no right to be here and 'we got there first'."
He said the people trying to get their boat in the water moved away.
"They went and stood on the other side of the road parked awkwardly.
"I thought 'oh God, there is going to be a rumble' and there were old nannies and little kids and everything. It was pretty sickening."
The resident said it got so uncomfortable and intimidating, they decided to leave before it "got ugly".
They had only been home a few minutes and then they heard a loud bang, like a gunshot.
"We looked out the window and couldn't see anything. When we looked out the window again 10 minutes later, the entire area had been cleared and there was no one there except a couple of police talking to an elderly man."
The man said he had lived in the area all his life and it was sad they didn't feel safe swimming there anymore.
"There are large groups of gangs there every weekend. Who takes a shotgun to go swimming at the lake with your nan and your kids? We don't feel safe. It's bad and it's getting worse."
The resident said it was intimidating to have groups of people constantly being a nuisance.
"You can't say anything to them for fear of getting whacked and they play on that."
In October last year, new security cameras were erected at the entrances to Lake Ōkareka and are monitored by the Rotorua Lakes Council. The cameras were paid for by the Lake Ōkareka Community Association and the council.
The man said residents wanted the security camera network extended to the boat ramp area.
The Rotorua Lakes Council was approached for comment.
Lake Ōkareka Community Association chairwoman Kim Lorigan said Sunday's shot had "upset and frightened" people trying to use the lake.
She said the cameras had proven their worth, giving the police information on vehicles that were involved on Sunday.
"The quality and timing of the information given to the police was vital for them to be able to gather the data footage from the cameras, to use for their investigations."
She urged people to continue to report details to the police.
"If possible and you are able to do so safely, photographs or videos of the offending are invaluable. But your safety is paramount.
"We are the eyes and ears of our community, without you, the police or harbourmaster will not and do not know what it happening. The more information given as early as possible, will assist."