Police in Gore are looking for a man who rammed two patrol cars before getting away on foot armed with the officers' pistols.
In a dramatic pursuit late last night, officers tried to stop a car shortly before midnight.
Instead of stopping for police, however, the driver rammed the patrol car before running off. A police officer chased after him - also on foot.
The man then circled back around, stolen the patrol vehicle, which had the keys left in it, and rammed another police car before abandoning the vehicle a short while later.
The Armed Offenders Squad was also called upon, as was a police helicopter.
"The man has then stolen the patrol vehicle and rammed another police car before abandoning the vehicle a short while later.''
Authorities said two police-issued Glock pistols were stolen.
Police say the man "remains at large".
Police are seeking 24-year-old Hōri Gemmell of the Clutha District in relation to the incident.
A warrant for Gemmell's arrest has been issued for an earlier incident not related to last night's events.
Police say they are looking into the incident that led to the man involved being able to open a locked box at the front of the patrol car which held the weapons.
Speaking to media, police said their priority is retrieving the two stolen pistols and bringing the man into custody.
The officers involved in last night's events are getting support. One of the officers had a "big graze on his elbow'' and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Police confirmed that the officer in the first patrol car rammed by the alleged offender left the keys in the ignition.
The officer speaking to media said usually, police officers are required to take their car keys when they leave the patrol car.
However, he acknowledged circumstances are different in each case - as seen late last night.
Out of town police staff are expected to arrive in Gore shortly, police said, to help locate the man involved.
Police are appealing to members of the public who may have information about the man involved to contact authorities.
The incident has also been referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
Anyone with information about the incident is being urged to contact Police immediately on 111 or CrimeStoppers anonymous: 0800 555 111.