Residents were stopped from going to their Tauranga homes after the police armed offenders squad helped during a search of a house in Robins Rd, Judea.
A squad car prevented residents from accessing the cul-de-sac, and some were still unable to get to the warmth of their homes as night fell.
Police would only say that it was a planned search warrant, and the armed offenders were there as a precaution.
Awitness said the armed offenders squad was also carrying shields. Other residents said they saw police in the area well before the squad arrived.
One couple who lived about halfway up the cul-de-sac were escorted back to their house by police so that they could be reunited with their elderly parents.