A man playing rap music heavy on expletives on his car stereo was arrested after a senior policeman took offence at the bad language.

Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne was working late in his office when he heard the music from nearly a block away.

"They parked up at the Visitor Information Centre, threw open their doors and were listening to their rap music," he said.

"It's questionable about the musical value of something when it's just a string of expletives."

Mr. Horne said police officers went to investigate the noise and ended up arresting a man for offensive behavior as a result of the music he was playing. Another man in the car was charged with breaching the liquor ban.

Mr. Horne said the arrest sent a clear message. "People going to our visitor center don't want to hear music where every second word is the F word. It's not what we need in a tourist town."

Mr. Horne said although the music was played late, about 11:15pm, and the visitor center was closed, he said it was still a matter of context. He said he could hear the music from his office and no doubt so too could the visitors staying in the nearby backpackers.

"It's still part of the CBD. It might be late but it's a visitor centre where all our tourists come to get information. Is that what they want to be greeted by? I don't think so."

The 39-year-old Lower Hutt man who played the music signed a "guilty letter" at the Rotorua police station admitting the charge, which meant he didn't have to appear in court.

A Justice of the Peace will now decide an appropriate penalty and the man will be sent a fine notice in the mail, which could be up to $1000.

Mr Horne's stance has been backed by city leaders as well as young.