Graeme Trim got quite the shock when he opened his curtains yesterday morning.

An armed offenders squad member was crouched outside his bedroom window.

"It is not what you expect to wake up to on a Thursday morning."

He hadn't been alerted of the police presence in Henry Charles Cres because he did not have a landline.

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The police were called to a domestic dispute in Kelvin Place, Maraenui at about 6am.

The man, aged in his 20s, made threats although it is understood he may not have had a firearm at the scene.

However, a police spokesperson said they treated him as "potentially armed" so called in the armed offenders squad to accompany police units to what they said were "known addresses".

Mr Trim said he tried to go outside but was told to get back in, lock the door and avoid all windows.

"I quietly watched what was happening from inside but I am sure residents would have been nervous when they began breaking the lady's door down with police dogs and officers filing in."

Mr Trim said he tried to make light of the situation and asked the armed offender squad member if he would like a coffee.

"I think I managed to get him to crack a small smile under his helmet."

Another resident, June, who had lived in the immediate area for three years, said she also went outside to be confronted by armed offenders squad officers taking up positions. She too was told to go back inside.

June watched proceedings from her window and said the move toward the house just after 11am happened quickly but it soon became clear there was no one inside.

She said young people had been staying at the property recently and she understood they were the grandchildren of the woman who lived there, and who was currently away.

The incident also forced William Colenso College, which has boundaries with the crescent, to go into lockdown.

Principal Daniel Murfitt said the school immediately went into the lockdown procedures it has in place with a signal of bells, locking of classrooms and keeping people away from windows.

Through emails and social media the school got in touch with parents to inform them what was happening.

After the all-clear was given, and on its Facebook site, the school posted "thank you to the local police who supported us during this time and our wonderful staff and students who were brilliant".

Police were unable to find the man and were continuing to search for him.

Police wanted to reassure the community "that their safety is not at risk".