• A man is in a critical condition after he was shot twice by police on Te Ngae Rd, Rotorua
• He was carrying a long-handled machete and ignored police commands to stop before he was shot
• Police Tasered him three times and pepper sprayed him before using a gun to subdue him
• They believe he was on P, or another substance, at the time

A man shot by police in Rotorua yesterday is this morning in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital.

The wounded man was flown by rescue helicopter to Hamilton last night with a specialist intensive care retrieval team on board the flight.

A Waikato District Health Board spokeswoman said the man was still in the intensive care unit.

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Police today will search an address that has been cordoned off overnight in relation to the shooting.

Shooting

The shooting happened on Te Ngae Rd, Rotorua, near the intersection of Marino Rd and Tarawera Rd.

Witnesses have described seeing police chase the man through a busy intersection and yelling at him to stop before shooting at him at least twice.

Paramedics and police gave the man first aid at the scene and he was taken to Rotorua Hospital in a serious condition.

It is the second police shooting in New Zealand this week, after police shot and killed Nick Marshall, 36, in Hamilton on Tuesday night.

Both shootings are believed to be methamphetamine-related.

Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said the man shot was known to police, lived locally and was believed to be under the influence of "a substance", possibly methamphetamine.

Police Tasered him three times and used pepper spray, but could not subdue him, said McGregor.

He said a police officer was driving along Vaughan Rd and "felt a thump" on the side of his car.

"As he has pulled over and got out of his vehicle, he noticed a man acting suspiciously.

"The officer went to speak to the man and noticed him holding a 4ft [1.2m] long slasher. The officer has moved back to the police car at which time the man has attacked it."

He said the man was followed to Marino Rd where armed police approached him at a commercial premises, believed to be Birchall and Maunder Automotive.

"After multiple requests asking the man to drop his weapon, police sprayed the man with OC [pepper] spray. This had no effect.

"Staff have then deployed a Taser three times in an effort to incapacitate the man with each attempt being unsuccessful."

The man then walked towards Te Ngae Rd, still armed with the slasher.

"Following further warnings by police, an armed officer has then shot the man twice. Based on the information we know at this time, Police believe the man was affected by a substance, possibly methamphetamine."

Police have notified the Independent Police Conduct Authority and were asking witnesses to come forward.

He said the officer who shot the man was "very upset" and he did not agree with claims that the man was shot "too soon".

The police car damaged near the scene of the shooting in Rotorua. Photo / Ben Fraser
The police car damaged near the scene of the shooting in Rotorua. Photo / Ben Fraser

'It was absolutely terrifying'

Local worker, Cerese Ashby, 20, said she was going to get lunch on Tarawera Rd when she saw the man get shot.

"I saw a guy running down the road, he was armed with something but I couldn't tell what. I thought it was a gun at first but it just looked like a big weapon. He was running down the road by the roundabout and the police were chasing him.

"They were yelling at him to get on the ground, they yelled twice but he didn't so then two massive gunshots went off and the guy hit the ground."

She said the man was fair-headed and pale skinned.

"It was absolutely terrifying, it was not something you want to ever see."

Mark Hughes was driving home for lunch when he drove into the middle of the situation.

"I heard the gunshots and turned back around to see him going down."

Hughes said the man was holding an antique-styled gorse cutter, a machete-type blade on a 1m long handle.

There was a also a police car with smashed-in windows and an officer walking away holding his head being supported by another officer, he said.

"The car was pretty well banged-up, and there was a cop who was walking back towards the cordon with his hands on the back of his head and another cop was holding him."

Another witness said she was just 6m from the man as he ran from police.

He was carrying a scrub cutter-type weapon similar to a machete.

She said the man was tall and appeared to be Maori or a Pacific Islander.

"As the man ran from police, the cops stood hesitant while one policeman holding an automatic weapon ran after him, the man stood in the centre piece of the road still waving the weapon around across from Goughs and the Redwood Centre.

"After the police man saying twice, very quickly 'put down your weapon', the policeman fired two quick repeated shots on the man to his lower abdomen and below.

"The man dropped to the ground after the two piercing shots sounded."

She said the officers appeared "shocked" and "raised their hands on their heads".

She said paramedics quickly attended to the shot man, who shouted and groaned.

The officer who shot him was "whisked away", she said.

Busy part of town

The shooting happened outside a number of industrial businesses in the suburb of Lynmore.

It is understood that the man ran through Birchall and Maunder Automotive carrying the machete.

Staff at the business said police told them not to speak with media.

However, staff at nearby businesses said the man had ran through the workshop and used a machete to smash a police car.

Second police shooting in two days

The shooting came after police shot and killed Nick Marshall, 36, in Hamilton on Tuesday night.

Marshall was shot by police after they searched a possible gang pad for methamphetamine.

Police say the man picked up a long-barrelled firearm and cocked it "in very close proximity" to officers at about 6.45pm on Grasslands Place, Frankton.

Officers fired several shots and the man was pronounced dead at the scene, despite first aid attempts.

'It's methamphetamine'

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said this week's shootings were further proof of the damage P causes communities.

"Each incident needs to totally be taken on its merits, the only common denominator was methamphetamine. Other than that you have a different group of police officers in completely different parts of the country being confronted with situations where they had used up their other options."

He said access to P was increasing and he had been told that in some communities, it "was easier to get than cannabis".

"There will be people who are putting blame on the individual police officers, but what they need to do is be looking at what the broader issues are because these are individual people doing the job required of them by the public.

"Police officers don't have the choice not to go out and police and they deserve the support of New Zealanders."

• If you saw yesterday's incident in Rotorua or have any other information about it please contact Rotorua Police on 07 346 2968 or the anonymous Crimestopper tipline on 0800 555 111