A man was shot in the face by police in Canterbury this morning - and escaped with just minor injuries.

Acting Canterbury Police District Commander Lane Todd said the 24-year-old man was "lucky to be alive".

He was released from hospital this morning after sustaining a minor to moderate facial wound to his cheek, and has been taken into custody.

Canterbury police say a review will be carried out but think the officers involved in the shooting this morning did the right thing.

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Todd thinks the two constables acted appropriately, professionally and in accordance with policy.

He says this was a confronting situation for them, which was both dangerous and dynamic.

Todd says they were decisive and used their training to the very best effect.

He was shot around 2am when officers were responding to a report of suspicious behaviour on the corner of St Marks Street and St Lukes Street in Woolston, Christchurch.

While patrolling in the area, they located a vehicle with two people in it.

Officers went to speak with them and recognised the passenger, Todd said.

"The passenger presented a firearm and police fired shots at him."

It's alleged he pointed a firearm at police.

Officers weren't injured in the incident.

The man has already been arrested and will be taken into custody once released from hospital.

They gave the man first aid immediately and he was taken to Christchurch Hospital.

Three investigations are underway into the shooting, including one that's being conducted by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.