A search operation is under way in central Tauranga.

A reporter at the scene said a police operation appeared to be happening on State Highway 2 at Takitimu Drive, Tauranga.

Three police cars were parked at entry/exit points and on the side of the eastern side of the highway between Chapel and Elizabeth Sts just before 12pm, she said.

She said a police dog and handler was on the footpath on the eastern side.

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A police spokeswoman said police were searching for a wanted offender in the area.