It was all over in less than a minute. In that minute, the rural silence of Northland's Tangowahine was shattered by gunfire.
As the echoes faded, a police dog was down after being shot in the head and a wanted man was keeled over in a paddock.
The shootout saw police and the wanted man face off with handguns across a flat open paddock. There was nowhere to run, and no one was hiding.
It unfolded from a call to police at 9.17am. The caller described seeing someone they thought "suspicious" on Tangowahine Valley Road, off State Highway 14 between Dargaville and Whangārei.
About the same time, Northland police district commander Superintendent Tony Hill said, an off-duty police officer rang colleagues to report seeing the same man - someone he knew was wanted for cannabis and firearms charges.
The calls saw two police "units" prepare to make the 15-minute drive to check out the lead. "They armed themselves just as a precaution," said Hill.
When the officers arrived, they saw a man matching the description of the person they were looking for. He was standing next to a vehicle, saw police, turned tail and bolted across the paddock.
"A dog handler and another staff member have given chase to this male," said Hill. "He's fled into a paddock."
The officers crossed into the paddock in the moments before the man turned to face the dog and fired.
Hill described the weapon used by the wanted man as a handgun of a large calibre. The injury understood to have been received by the dog suggests it was facing the man, and likely in close pursuit.
"Our staff have simultaneously returned fire. The male was shot three times during this."
In the aftermath, one of the police officers stayed with the wounded man, doing what could be done to help with wounds to his arm and his leg. It is unclear where the third bullet struck.
The dog handler picked up his wounded dog and raced for help, with a veterinary clinic in Dargaville warned to prepare for urgent surgery.
In the end, the surgery the dog needed was carried out in Auckland. Separate rescue helicopters flew both the shot man and the police dog to Auckland, where both were in a stable condition last night.
Hill said it was the fourth time police had been shot at in three months. He said officers were "shaken by today's events".
"This was a frightening incident and police are providing all available support to the officer involved, as well as the other police officers present at the scene."
Hill was reluctant to make public many details of the incident as it was now under investigation, as was normal practice after a shooting involving police.
Hill would not reveal the ranks or names of the police officers involved in the shooting. He also would not reveal details about the injuries or where the suspect was shot.
Police were also speaking to the family of the man who was shot, Hill said.
About 20 police cars were seen racing down SH14 from Whāngarei shortly after police involved in the shooting began passing on details.
Donald Harrison's property is directly opposite the paddock where the shooting took place and he was in his dog kennel shed when he heard three gunshots.
"My horses galloped up the paddock and started smashing the fences. They panicked," he said.
Local landowner Douglas Conn said the police urgency to help their colleagues was initially frustrated.
"There was a tree that was blown over so they had clear that for police to go through."
Ian MacDonald, a beef and sheep farmer on Tangowahine Valley Road, watched an ambulance go past about 10.15am. "It's terrible, shocking. Of course, it's a worry. I have kids myself so you want to stay safe."
Tangowahine School principal Huw Wainwright said police had briefed him early and classes continued as normal. He said the school used its mailing list to tell parents what was happening.
A Dargaville-based company that runs converted golf carts on derailed Kiwi Rail tracks cancelled yesterday's lone trip because of the shooting.
Port Dargaville Rail and River director John Hansen said the 29km round trip broke for refreshments at Tangowahine Valley Road before returning to Dargaville.
"A lack of information from police is not very helpful. Hopefully we can go back tomorrow."