Tractors, utes and even a periwinkle-blue electric Toyota Prius trundled down Rotorua's Fenton St on Friday as part of a national protest against regulations and taxes.
The "Howl of a Protest" was organised by Groundswell NZ, which describes itself as a volunteer advocacy group for farmers, growers, contractors and tradies.
Traffic in Rotorua was slowed but not stopped by the vehicles, some of which sported signs such as "tax on utes insane" and "too much too fast too expensive".
Scattered along the footpath the length of the street there were also supporters, curious locals and children watching the action.
By 12pm, horns could be heard blaring down the street as the convoy turned at the Arawa St roundabout to congregate at Arawa Racecourse.
Former Rotorua - Taupō Federated Farmers chairman Neil Heather said he believed farmers were "getting a raw deal" from both central and local government.
"Rotorua Lakes Council seems to think we don't really exist. Every time we engage with them, they ignore everything we say."
He said that applied to many things, from significant natural areas, representation and Federated Farmers' opinion on long-term plans and district plans.
"Federated Farmers submit and it's totally ignored."
Farmer Lachlan McKenzie told a gathered group of about 300 protesters it appeared the Government was "hell-bent on breaking down the rural economy" and bureaucrats in Wellington were telling farmers how to take care of their land.
He said significant natural areas was a "significant nationalisation of our assets" and a "theft of our land … theft of our rights".
"Half of my farm has been turned into a significant natural area."
He also said the lack of farm and tradie labour was impacting work.
"The Wiggles can come in, but we can't have somebody to drive a tractor."
McKenzie also took aim at the district council.
"We invited the local council to come along and speak. The mayor put her apology in, I wonder why.
"The chief executive has got seven deputies, but none of them turned up either. So I note our local council is conspicuous by their absence."
In response to Heather's and McKenzie's comments, Rotorua Lakes Council acting chief executive Craig Tiriana said the council always sought "wide-ranging views" from community groups during consultation.
Mayor Steve Chadwick and chief executive Geoff Williams were in Blenheim at the Local Government New Zealand conference on Friday.
Groundswell Rotorua coordinator Karen Barker told Local Democracy Reporting the turn out to the protest was "overwhelming".
"It shows they support what we're saying and they're feeling the same."
She said that feeling was one of frustration farmers weren't being listened to.
"[The Government] is not listening to the people who know what happens on the ground."
She said it felt like the National Policy Statement for Freshwater had been a "fait accompli".
Barker, a Reporoa dairy farmer, said farmers were happy to work towards environmental goals but it had to be reasonable.
"We're being heard by being seen.
"Work with us rather than against us."
Rotorua MP Todd McClay also attended the protest, in his bright blue ute with National Party decals.
He said for farmers to leave the land and come into town it was "quite a big deal".
He said the ute tax felt "punitive and really out-of-touch".
McClay agreed with Barker's sentiment that farmers wanted to "do their bit for the environment" but the ute tax was going to harm households and individuals and not necessarily drive people to electrics.
"It's really hard to tow a trailer with a Nissan Leaf. I've seen them towing uphill, they go backwards."
A police spokeswoman said the police estimated there were about 50 to 70 tractors and about 100 4x4 vehicles involved.
Police had monitored the protest to ensure participants and the community were safe, she said.
"Police were pleased with the behaviour of the protesters in Rotorua and received positive reports of their courteous driving behaviour."
Groundswell NZ wants to see the National Policy Statement for Freshwater and the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity scrapped, and Significant Natural Areas regulation to be abandoned or rewritten.
It also wants the Government to prioritise overseas seasonal and specialist rural workers in MIQ to fill yawning vacancies in the sector, and for what they call "unworkable" parts of the Emissions Trading Scheme to be withdrawn. The group also wants to see the so-called "ute tax" scrapped, calling it "grossly unfair".
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said he understood the "pressure" rural communities felt under the weight of Government policy reforms, the NZ Herald reported.
"There are a lot of things happening at the moment in the economy to try and make sure New Zealand's economy remains both fiscally and environmentally sustainable. We've been working very closely with rural communities on this," Robertson said.
"I understand that at the farm level they are feeling the pressure of that change," he said.
Robertson urged farmers to work with the Government.
"What I'd say is we have to work together on that, just as we worked together to resolve issues around Mycoplasma Bovis, just as we worked together to support those who lived in rural communities through Covid, just as we worked together to ensure air freight gets out and exports get out," Robertson said.
He echoed comments made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier this week that action on climate change was important for New Zealand's trading relationships.