In a quiet Napier suburb, about midnight, a man's voice punctures the pitch black, his words gentle but firm.

"We just want to be able to talk to you and make sure everyone is okay."

He continues: "If you can hear me but are too afraid to come out please acknowledge me by turning your light on."

It's nearly 12 hours since armed police and the Armed Offenders Squad descended on Alexander Ave in Onekawa, setting up a large cordon, laying down road spikes and putting four schools into lockdown.

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In that time helicopters have flown over and negotiating teams