More than 1000 guns and parts are believed to have been handed in to police as a nationwide amnesty for firearms winds up in Tauranga today.
The three-day event is part of the Government's amnesty and buyback scheme under the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Parts and Magazines) Amendment Act 2019. Buyback and amnesty events have been taking place in the Bay of Plenty since July 19 and will continue until September 29.
At Baypark Stadium on Friday, 97 people handed in 161 firearms and 498 parts. On Saturday, 90 people handed in 138 guns and 305 parts. Today, the figure was expected to be roughly the same.
Waiting outside the stadium lounge, a man dressed in a camouflage hoodie had just handed over his semi-automatic. The man said he enjoyed hunting but would be reverting back to a bolt action shotgun now.
The man, who will not be identified, said some of the appeal of owning a semi-automatic was much like that of owning a luxury sports car if you were able to.
"Owning a semi-automatic, it's like a Ferarri from a gun owner's perspective. If you've got the money to buy one, it's the firearm of choice."
But the man was supportive of the amnesty.
"I think it's good the Government is willing to pay for it. It's a good thing all 'round. It puts less pressure on emergency services, less risk."
By 11am today , there had already been between 50 and 60 people handing over weapons, police operations support manager Inspector Ed Van Den Broek said.
"The majority of people have been pretty positive," he said.
"You get a few people who are pretty disappointed about having to hand in their weapons which are very personal to them. For some people, they are sports shooters or use them for other activities. Other weapons have been part of the family and have that sentimental value.
"Unfortunately, we can't discount for sentimental reasons but the majority of people have been good."
On Friday, a Tauranga man who handed over some firearm parts said the lines had been extremely long inside.
When asked why he came down, he said there were so many firearms out there that were not necessary.
A lot of "older fellas" had old firearms locked in their cupboards that they no longer needed and it was the right thing to bring them down, he said.
In an event held in Te Puke last month, more than 1000 guns and accessories or parts were handed in.
The collected weapons will be shredded in Te Puke, which has one of just two of the country's plants being used to destroy surrendered weapons.
The second Tauranga event will be from September 27 to 29 at the same place.
More details about the buyback scheme are on the New Zealand Police website.