While armed officers cordoned off a suburban street in Whangarei, a police negotiator was reaching out by phone to a man who had barricaded himself inside his house.

Police were alerted at mid-morning yesterday about an incident at the address where it is understood a man made threats against the safety of himself and others.

Whangarei and Kaipara Area Commander, Inspector Justin Rogers said a man had been taken into custody and would undergo a medical assessment.

''The situation has been contained and the area was cordoned off while the incident was resolved,'' Mr Rogers said.

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A fleet of police vehicles, fire engines and ambulances parked in Vinegar Hill Rd signalled the serious nature of the event unfolding around the corner in Balmoral St, Tikipunga.

At 1pm a police officer came out of the address and took a battering ram from his car.

However, from the cordon, about 75m away, there were no sounds of a forced entry at the house. It is understood telephone connection with the man was intermittent during the ordeal.

After a tense stand-off lasting until 2pm, a man came out of the house and was taken into police custody.

Fire engines and an ambulance had moved from around the corner to outside the address only minutes earlier.

The St John crew was not asked to leave the ambulance, and a man was driven away from the scene in a police car.

During the call-out, neighbours and other traffic wanting to access the street were turned away.

Several people arrived at the cordon asking if they could get to their children in the Manaakitia Te Kohanga Reo further down the street.

They were told they could go through connecting Thomas St to collect the children at the other end of the cordon.

One man told the Northern Advocate the incident appeared not to threaten neighbours' or public safety because nearby properties had not been emptied by police.

"But I'm worried about the effect on my little girl who's in the kohanga," he said.

"Those kids can tell it's a very stressful situation, with armed police out in the street."

Another man asked the police if he could check on his "old nan, she'll be worried."

Despite the cordon, there was minimal police presence in the street itself, indicating the need to keep a volatile situation low key.