A popular central city backpackers has been raided by armed police in Wellington this morning, hunting for a dangerous fugitive.

A spokeswoman said police searched the Wild Zebra Backpackers on Tory St believing Rameka Wikaira was inside.

The 26-year-old had appeared on TV's Police Ten 7 last night and police had been tipped off that he was living at the hostel.

Wikaira had a warrant out for his arrest after breaching release conditions. Police considered him dangerous and advised the public not to approach him.

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But the spokeswoman said it was a case of mistaken identity.

However, they arrested a woman on an unrelated matter, she said.

"While Mr Wikaira was not there a second person who was wanted was found," said a spokeswoman.

The woman was due to appear in Wellington District Court.

A woman on reception at the backpackers said two police officers approached her with a photo and asked if she recognised the man.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said she couldn't say for sure.

Suddenly armed police were swarming inside the five-storey budget accommodation block.

She said she was asked to leave and wait on the street opposite the building. Other guests leaving the five-storey building were told they could not go back inside until the police operation had finished.