A motorist failed to stop for police and later opened fire at officers, before carjacking another vehicle at gunpoint and crashing into a patrol car in Feilding, police say.
The dramatic incident unfolded on Monday evening in Manawatū.
Acting Central District area commander Inspector Nigel Allan said the alleged gunman was in hospital with serious injuries. The stolen car he was driving crashed into a police vehicle near Feilding, following a series of offences across Horowhenua and Manawatū.
About 5.30pm, Foxton police received a call about a vehicle being driven erratically.
The male driver failed to stop for police when signalled to do so.
No pursuit was initiated but local police made inquiries in the Foxton Beach area to locate the vehicle.
"The driver subsequently drove back past police and fired a shot from his vehicle towards an officer. The officer was unharmed," Allan said.
"The man then abandoned the first vehicle and, armed with a firearm, approached another motorist forcing that person from their vehicle. He then left the Foxton area in the stolen vehicle."
Extensive efforts were co-ordinated to locate the stolen vehicle and it was later located by police approaching Feilding. The vehicle again failed to stop for police.
Police deployed a number of units to the wider Feilding area, locating the
vehicle on Kimbolton Rd.
Police were able to successfully deploy spikes to apprehend the male.
"Just after passing over the spikes the male was seen to drive directly at a stationary patrol car at speed, firing another shot at police immediately before crashing into the patrol car.
"No police officers were injured in the incident, and the offender was taken into custody by attending staff without the need to use firearms against him.
"The offender had to be extracted from the crashed vehicle by Fire and Emergency NZ staff, and was transported to Palmerston North Hospital in a serious condition where he is currently receiving treatment."
A firearm was recovered.
A 30-year-old man will face a number of serious charges.
"This was an extraordinarily difficult and dangerous situation for our staff who were faced with a highly mobile offender whom it is alleged twice discharged a firearm at police and used that firearm in the commission of a robbery," Allan said.
"The fact that police were able to successfully apprehend this person without injury to the public or police staff is an absolute credit to the courage and professionalism of the staff involved."
'Massive crash' then shots fired: witness
Earlier, an eyewitness described the terrifying moment she heard a "massive crash" followed by multiple gunshots following a major police operation in Feilding.
Jessica Calverley, who is in the Manawatū town on holiday, said the dramatic incident happened just after 7pm.
She said she heard police cars "flying past" on Kimbolton Rd, which is behind the house.
"There was suddenly a massive crash, the sound of metal on metal, a full-on crunch," she said.
She then went outside and heard several gunshots.
"There were probably three or four gunshots that went off. The cops were yelling for us to get back in the house. We ducked and ran back inside."
A few minutes later, she said she again heard police cars flying up the road.
"Then we decided to creep back out, maybe five minutes later, and there are probably 10 to 15 police cars on the road.
A green vehicle appeared to have crashed and the wreck sat smoking in the road.
Calverley said police were inspecting a shed on the side of the road thoroughly.
She said one person was taken to an ambulance on a stretcher.
"The man who was still left in the driver's seat, suddenly he was just blasting this music, it was almost like he was playing his last stand, his grand finale. It was a Māori song I've never heard, it was really beautiful but quite sort of sad-sounding.
"It was just seemed very strange to be in this high-tense situation and suddenly have the suspect blasting this sad waiata," she said.
"Eventually some fire trucks and an ambulance pulled up and they had to cut [a door off the car] and get someone out."
"They got this guy out and took him away," she said.
"The cops were running around with massive guns, there was a whole canine unit. There was a team in their Armed Offenders gear, so full black helmets, rifles and bulletproof vests, and everything."
Images from the scene show a patient being carried from the wrecked vehicle on a stretcher.
Video from the immediate aftermath shows police officers swarming on the crash site as the crashed green vehicle spills smoke.