The Armed Offenders' Squad from Whang─ürei arrested a 43-year-old man aboard his catamaran on Mangonui Harbour on Tuesday, after six hours of drama that held many spectators enthralled.

Benjamin Charles Nunn, who was living aboard the catamaran but was described by police as of no fixed abode, was charged with two counts of possessing an offensive weapon, and one apiece of possession of cannabis, resisting police and using an explosive in an attempt to prevent lawful arrest.

He appeared in absentia in the Kaitaia District Court yesterday, and was remanded in custody until December 18.

The arrest was made after a six-hour stand-off, which the Northland Age understands had its genesis in a confrontation with Northland Regional Council staff and two Mangonui police officers on Monday.

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The regional council had given Nunn six weeks, a deadline that expired on Monday, to remove a yacht he owns that had sunk in the harbour, but Nunn reportedly responded with abuse when he was reminded of that.

Police and council staff approached him again, aboard his boat, at 6am on Tuesday, and were again abused, Nunn also allegedly presenting a loaded crossbow. They withdrew and called on police in Kaitaia and the AOS.

Police negotiated with Nunn for some hours, including the offer to put him in contact with a lawyer, which was refused. At one point, according to witnesses ashore, he fired an arrow at an AOS drone, although it is not clear whether the arrow was actually released.

Witnesses had a clear view of a flare and two smoke bombs being fired from the catamaran when police went on board, and arrested Nunn without serious incident.

A witness also told the Northland Age Nunn had been sitting on the deck of his boat, playing a saxophone, while the standoff continued.

No one was injured in any of the incidents leading to and including the arrest.