Police are investigating a report of an assault at The Strand, in central Tauranga.
A man was critically injured about 1.45am and remains in Tauranga Hospital in a critical condition, a police spokeswoman said.
The area has been cordoned off and forensic experts are doing a scene examination.
An NZME photographer at the scene said a tent was set up in a carpark on The Strand.
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He said a scene guard was at the cordon and three police cars. The streets were quiet, he said.
Nearby business, La Mexica Cantina and Restaurant, was open till about 3am spokesman Pawan Kumar said.
He said night staff had not passed on any messages about the police incident overnight.
"Police haven't spoken to us this morning either. We don't know what happened."
Kumar said town was busy overnight "but we have never had a safety issue on The Strand nearby before".
Police are asking anyone with information about the incident, or anyone who was in the area at the time, to call 105.
Information can also be passed on anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.