Touch it, and it will make you sick. At worst, it could kill you.
A 900m trail of lethal cyanide laid on a popular Tikitapu Scenic Reserve track near Lake Okareka has baffled experts and shocked locals.
Laid in the form of a blue-green paste, the poison was laid in dollops about the size of New Zealand's old 50c coins.
There were 27 "baits" found about 35m apart over 900m metres of track.
Nobody knows who laid the bait or why.
The Department of Conservation and health officials moved quickly to remove it.
The area has been closed to the public for at least 10 days as a precaution.
Lake Okareka resident Sandra Goodwin was horrified someone would lay poison illegally on a public walkway.
"This is just totally irresponsible behaviour," she said.
"To do something like this on a track so near the village where adults, children and dogs frequent is completely reckless."
The Rotorua Fire Service was called to Okareka Loop Rd on Tuesday at 7.40pm and quickly alerted DOC about illegal baits.
Department of Conservation Rotorua Lakes area manager Nicki Douglas did not want to speculate about who may have laid the poison or why.
However, she said she was shocked someone would be so reckless as to put the lives of children and pets at risk by placing poison in such a highly used area.
"This is such an irresponsible act and could have easily led to a child becoming seriously ill or worse," Mrs Douglas said.
"When we use bait within our areas it is in a strictly controlled situation and has significant signage to warn people that an operation is under way."
She said she could not understand why someone would do such a dangerous thing.
"We can only be thankful that a member of the public recognised the risk and contacted us, which allowed our staff to act promptly to close the area and remove the poison."
Mrs Douglas said DOC staff, contractors and health officials spent yesterday at the site, removing the illegal poison from the walkway.
She said the area would be closed to the public for the next 10 days as a precaution and asked that members of the public walking in the Lake Okareka area be vigilant and contact emergency services if they found any more of the poison.
The Department of Conservation was satisfied the poison had not been stolen from a nearby legal and controlled bait station operation being carried out.
Lake Okareka Forest and Bird, Tikitapu pest control co-ordinator, James Blakely, who has lived in Okareka for six years, said the laying of the paste was "disgraceful and dangerous".
Mr Blakely said cyanide was very hard to obtain.
Approved handler Test Certificates are issued by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) and anyone wanting to use it on DOC land must have a certificate.
Mr Blakely said Forest and Bird, DOC and Environment Bay of Plenty were working together to reduce rat and possum numbers in the Tikitapu Reserve, across the road from the walking track where the cyanide was found.
* Do you have any information about the cyanide found on the trail at Lake Okareka? Contact the Department of Conservation on (07) 349 8226.