One moment Tui Walters was sitting down for lunch - the next armed police were telling her to put her hands in the air and asking if she was hiding a fugitive.

She wasn't.

She'd actually told the alleged bank robber to "f*** off" moments before.

Walters lives on Bentley Ave, near Glenfield Rd, where an ANZ branch was robbed yesterday afternoon.

Advertisement

A man carrying a pistol robbed the bank about 1.10pm before he and a woman left with a small sum of money, according to police.

Robbery witness Terry Murphy told NZ Herald Focus today he was with police when they spotted the man outside Walters' address.

Walters had no idea what had happened at the bank 400m away when she noticed a "sweaty" man looking in her kitchen window.

"He said 'can you call me a cab please?' I just thought 'well, I'm doing a person a favour'. I didn't know about the bank robbery."

She had just called a taxi for the man when "all of a sudden I had police cars everywhere".

The man - startled - then tried to come in Walters' back door, Walters told the Herald.

"I told him to f*** off."

The man ran off and armed police rushed to Walters' house.

Just minutes before, Terry Murphy was outside the ANZ bank in Glenfield Rd just after 1pm when he saw a "dodgy" hoodie-clad man walk in.

Poking his head inside after the man left, he was spotted by a staff member, he told NZ Herald Focus.

"'Just being nosey I had a look and the lady said 'we've just been robbed, can you see what car he's gone into'."

A police manhunt, which included the lockdown of Bayview School, is continuing.

The wanted man is thought to be aged in his mid 20s and is described as a Maori or Pacific Islander. He was wearing sunglasses and a white hoodie with the hood up, police said.

Detective Sergeant Ross Clapp, Waitemata CIB, said a scene examination had been completed and police were speaking to a number of witnesses.

The man, who had a pistol, and a woman associated with him left the bank with a small amount of money, Clapp said.

There was not much cash in the tills, and no one was injured in the robbery, he said.

Murphy was able to help police in the initial stages, after he followed the alleged robber down an alley.

Terry Murphy was able to help police in the initial stages, after he followed the alleged robber down an alley. Photo / Dean Purcell
Terry Murphy was able to help police in the initial stages, after he followed the alleged robber down an alley. Photo / Dean Purcell

When police arrived, Murphy rode with them and they discovered the man had gone to the house of a stranger.

"He asked the lady at the house to call for a cab. Just a random person. She had no idea what's going on."

Police are at the scene of a bank robbery in Auckland this afternoon. Police have confirmed the robbery occurred at the ANZ Bank in Glenfield, North Shore.

Murphy spotted the man as the taxi arrived, but he ran away.

Police, some armed, have been looking for the man since.

The police Eagle helicopter and members of the dog unit were involved in the hunt.

Police said the alarm was raised after a man entered the bank about 1.10pm and demanded money.

He fled "with a sum of money" and police dogs and their handlers later tracked him from a car found in the area, police said.

"It is still not yet known whether the car is or isn't related to the bank robbery."

Beach Haven woman Ashleah Copeland was driving east on Manuka Rd, two kilometres from the bank, just before 2pm when a black car being followed by police came "flying past" in the opposite direction.

"He was going at least 120km/h. There was a guy in the passenger side wearing a white jumper and the person in the driver's seat was wearing a hi-vis vest.

"The next thing there was just cop car after cop car ... eight all together."

A woman turning right into Easton Park Parade was nearly hit by the black car after it ran a red light, Copeland said.

Karlin O'Malley Somers wrote on a community Facebook page about the police presence.

"Anyone know why half the North Shore police just went screaming down Glenfield Rd from Constellation Station? Had at least 13 cars go past my place."

Others posted of seeing armed police in the community, including Kara Lee Weeks, who wrote on Facebook that police were "standing on either side of the mall entrance holding guns".

Worried Bayview School parents also shared their concerns online.

During the school lockdown, which began just before 3pm and was over by 3.30pm, children were kept in classrooms, joined by parents who had arrived to collect them and were unaware of the lockdown.

ANZ spokesman Stefan Herrick would not say how many people were inside the bank at the time of the robbery.

Counselling was being made available to staff and the branch had been closed for the rest of the day.

A decision would be made later whether to open tomorrow, Herrick said.