One minute two burglary suspects were joyriding on a rural metal road south of Kaitaia, aboard stolen quad bikes.
Next minute one was in police custody and the other was on the run, across farm land and disappearing into trees.
Armed local police were deployed to at least two sites on Te Rore Road, off State Highway 1 at Victoria Valley, yesterday morning, and a dog and handler were summoned from Kerikeri.
Senior Sergeant Geoff Ryan said the wanted man was caught before they arrived, however.
"He was found by one of my young constables and the farmer," Mr Ryan said.
Two men were being interviewed yesterday afternoon but no charges had been laid at that stage, although police had recovered unspecified property that was believed to have been taken in rural burglaries.
Neither of the arrested men had been armed, and both were brought into custody without difficulty.
Mr Ryan added that he was grateful for the co-operation of a number of local people, primarily in helping the constable locate the wanted man.