Rudy Taylor was at a meeting in Hokianga when he got the call no parent ever wants to hear - his son, Son Taylor, 29, had been taken hostage.
In Whangarei, his wife Kay Taylor had also just heard that Son, a Vodafone consultant, was being held hostage at the company's Reyburn St shop.
She had been called by staff at Te Wananga O Aotearoa who had seen the drama unfold from the wananga's offices across the road, and recognised Son.
Knowing nothing other than he was a hostage, Mrs Taylor rushed to the scene. Stopped by a police road block at the corner of Albert and Lower Cameron streets, she was taken to the Whangarei police station to wait.
Meanwhile, a long way from the action, her husband was also desperate for information. He, too, had been contacted by wananga staff in the early stages of the drama and told his son was being held by a "crazed, gun-toting drug dealer".
"All I know is that my boy has been taken hostage by some drug dealer with a gun and that someone has been shot. I don't know if it's my son or if the police have shot the gunman. I don't know if they're dead or injured," he told the Advocate soon after word filtered out from the cordoned-off scene that a shot had been fired and one person was "down".
"My boy is as straight as you can get," Mr Taylor said. "He's working at Vodafone, he's a good kid. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that my boy's okay, and I'll be there as soon as I can get there."
Three hours later, the man whose life had been in danger before an armed police officer shot and killed the woman was refusing to speak about his ordeal.
"I'm not going to tell you anything at the moment. I have no comment to make to the media whatsoever," a distressed-sounding Son Taylor said. Asked how he was feeling he replied: "I'm not even going to tell you that." His mother, Kaye Taylor, also declined to comment other than to say the family had been through a terrible experience and her main concern was for her son. Meanwhile, Rudy Taylor said he was relieved his son was not hurt, but deeply saddened about the shooting.
"Whether it was someone on P or whatever, I'm sorry they had to lose their life," Mr Taylor said. He did not know the woman, nor did he know of any connection between her and his son. As chair of Hokianga a Kupe Taonga Tuku Iho, Mr Taylor is one of the organisers of a hui at Mangamuka, in the Far North, next week. The hui's main focus is the Hokianga group's political and social direction, and independence from Ngapuhi and Te Rarawa runanga on issues such as fisheries, housing, justice and education.
Drug abuse was one of the social issues the group had in its sights, said Mr Taylor, who is a former chairman of Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngapuhi.
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