Bay of Plenty siege: Gunman's mother accuses police of delay tactic

By Lynley Bilby, Catherine Gaffaney, Tess Nichol, Kelly Makiha, Kyra Dawson

• Gunman holed up in house after shooting police
• Four officers injured, one seriously
• Mother begs to be allowed to see her son
• Says he has been texting her to come and get him
• Drone sighting over cordoned area triggers angry outburst

A stand-off with an armed gunman who allegedly shot four police officers at a Bay of Plenty farmhouse is continuing this morning, with no end to the siege in sight.

Police say the situation at Onepu Springs Rd near Kawerau remains unchanged as it enters its second day.


As police and defence reinforcements descended on the region, police said the major operation was ongoing but no further shots had been fired overnight.

Today police say their priority remains to bring the siege to a peaceful conclusion, ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

Cordons remain in place and a large number of police staff, including specialist units, have worked throughout the night.

Police say they are working with the shooter's family, many of whom are holding vigil at the cordon, to keep them updated about the operation.


Negotiations have continued through the night with a loudhailer heard being used to encourage the gunman to give himself up.

Heavily armed Special Tactics Group officers, defence force staff and the Armed Offenders Squad are gathered in strength as reinforcements, including light armoured vehicles (LAVs) and a defence NH90 helicopter, travelled to the area.

Along with the cordons at either end of Onepu Springs Rd, police have imposed a no-fly zone over the immediate area.

Listen to Newstalk ZB reporter Hannah Bartlett at the scene:

Family of the gunman have kept vigil at the road's end overnight appealing to police to be included in negotiating a peaceful end to the stand-off.

A police negotiating team at the scene includes one of the gunman's friends, who has been in contact with him through the night and this morning.

They say the gunman has texted a message to them that he wants to give himself up.

The road has been blocked and police have put a no-fly zone in place which forms a three nautical mile radius around the incident. Photo / Alan Gibson
The road has been blocked and police have put a no-fly zone in place which forms a three nautical mile radius around the incident. Photo / Alan Gibson

His mother fears her son will be "coming out in a box" and earlier accused police of delaying tactics after officers said a drone had been spotted in the area. She has continued to ask for family members to be let on to the property to bring the gunman out without shots being fired.

The gunman's mother said police had a "preconceived outcome".

The gunman has indicated to family through text messages that he wants to come out but he wants the support of his family to do so and does not want to go to prison.

"He's scared," his mother said. "He knows what he's done and that's it for him."

Residents of the rural road blocked out of their homes by the shooting have been forced to spend the night elsewhere.

Others have barricaded themselves in locked homes and are waiting out the siege.

Two of the officers injured in yesterday's shooting have been treated for their injuries and have returned home.

Emergency services at the scene. Photo / Ben Fraser
Emergency services at the scene. Photo / Ben Fraser

The most seriously wounded police officer is in Waikato Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Another officer that was shot in the hand was undergoing treatment at the same hospital.

Minister of Police Judith Collins told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that she was happy with how police were handling the situation.

"I have full confidence in the police. I was up at police national headquarters yesterday just for a short time and they were clearly in what I call police mode - absolutely operational mode. They're highly competent people and I have no concern with the way that they're handling things."

Ms Collins said this incident was a reminder of just how dangerous it was to be a police officer.

"It's one of the most dangerous jobs that there is when you consider the number of police officers who are shot, stabbed, run over - all those sorts of things and it's just a really dangerous occupation and I think they do it really well."

When asked if there were now more guns being used in New Zealand and police being shot at, Ms Collins said: "Guns are clearly in the hands of the wrong people and I doubt any of the people that have been shooting at police in the last few years have got licences or anything like that. They're in the hands of criminals and I think it is a concern."

Last night former Police Minister and East Coast MP Anne Tolley sent a message of support from the Government saying their thoughts were with everyone involved, especially the injured officers and their families.

Police said there was a large police operation underway. Photo / Ben Fraser
Police said there was a large police operation underway. Photo / Ben Fraser

Police Commissioner Mike Bush was flying back from Australia overnight after learning of the incident.

How things unfolded

10.45am: Police hear three shots in the Otakiri area in the Bay of Plenty during an operation using a plane.
11.30am: Police cordon off a rural property on Onepu Springs Rd, Kawerau after another shot is fired at the plane, which is believed to have been searching for cannabis crops.
1pm: The Armed Offenders Squad arrive in Kawerau after being called out from Rotorua.
3.45pm: Police confirm three officers have been shot. A large police operation is under way at the property, where the gunman is believed to be holed up.
4.15pm: Two Rotorua officers arrive at Whakatane Hospital. A third officer is airlifted to Rotorua Hospital.
5.40pm: Police confirm a fourth officer has been shot.
6pm: Police hold a media briefing at National Headquarters in Wellington confirming they are only looking for one shooter.
7pm: Police announce a defence helicopter has been deployed to the scene along with three light armoured vehicles.
7.25pm: Police say a 3 mile radius no-fly zone has been established around the area.

Past police shootings

April 7, 1986: Traffic Officer Robin James Dudding, 44, was shot dead after he was taken hostage by Ross Kameta. Traffic Officer Dudding was later awarded a posthumous George Medal for bravery.
November 13, 1990: Sergeant Stewart Graeme Guthrie, 41, died at Aramoana when he was shot by gunman David Malcolm Gray who shot dead 12 other people. Mr Guthrie was awarded the posthumous George Medal.
April 21, 1996: Constable Glenn Arthur McKibbin, 25, was shot as he stood beside his police patrol car in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere. He died on the way to hospital. Former soldier Terence Thompson was later found in a Havelock North orchard and shot dead by police.
July 5, 2002: - Feilding Detective Constable Duncan Taylor fatally shot by a teenager during a confrontation at a Rongotea farmhouse.
September 11, 2008: - Sergeant Don Wilkinson shot after he was disturbed planting a tracking device on a vehicle outside a suspected illegal drugs lab in Mangere East, South Auckland.
May 7, 2009: - Taradale's Senior Constable Len Snee, an armed offenders officer specialising in cannabis enforcement, was shot dead in the Napier suburb of Ahuriri on a routine drugs raid.
February 3, 2016: - A police officer is shot at in his car in Mangere, South Auckland during a short olice pursuit. The officer was not hurt.

- NZ Herald

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