Mystery surrounds events relating to the critical injuries sustained by one man, the arrest of another, and the discovery of a silver sedan with apparent bullet holes.

Hawke's Bay Area Commander Inspector Dave Greig said a 40-year-old man was arrested on Saturday, and was due to appear in the Hastings District Court on Monday, charged with wounding.

A 47-year-old man arrived at Hawke's Bay Hospital about 1.50pm on Friday afternoon with critical injuries. Several hours later, police and the armed offenders squad descended on Otane to secure a property of interest.

An investigation was ongoing. On Sunday, police confirmed officers and forensic scientists from ESR were examining a property of interest in Long Range Rd, Pourerere.

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Police had also "seized a vehicle believed to be linked to the shooting, and are examining it".

Police would not confirm whether the vehicle was the silver sedan recovered in Hastings on Friday afternoon which appeared to have two bullet holes in it. This was found on the corner of Lowe St and Orchard Rd, and was towed from the scene at about 2.20pm.

On Sunday night, a Hawke's Bay District Health Board spokeswoman said the 47-year-old remained in a critical condition in the intensive care unit.

The incident was the talk of the town in Otane, although residents were unclear about exactly what occurred.

John Oliver of Otane Fire Station said he understood a shooting had occurred about 12pm, in the vicinity of Higginson, and Campbell St Police would not confirm this.

The volunteer fire brigade had not been called out to help, but the Fire Station building on Campbell St had been put into lockdown to be used by police.

Nothing like this had happened in recent memory, Mr Oliver said, although "things are changing".

Local residents spoken to by Hawke's Bay Today said they had seen a number of police in the area on Friday, but did not know exactly what had happened.

A local business owner said he had seen "lots of cops cars" in Otane on Friday afternoon.

"We heard the 'pop, pop, pop'. I thought 'that's a weird sound', but I didn't think it was a gunshot."

He understood there had been an incident which emergency services were called out to, and that it "escalated from there".

When asked if there had been much talk among locals about the incident, McCauley's Store and Cafe owner Sue said it was "certainly something different".

"It's not something that happens everyday."