A man accompanied by children spat on one security guard and swung a scooter at another during a central city lockdown confrontation.
The incident this week in Tauranga left the children crying and prompted an advocate for the homeless to get involved and burst her bubble by consoling one of the youngsters.
The guard said he was patrolling in downtown Tauranga when he saw a man with some children.
The security officer and another guard saw the man approach a homeless man across the road near the Willow St bus stops and get into a "heated discussion".
The altercation prompted the two guards to call the police and ask they keep an eye on the downtown CCTV cameras.
The guards approached the men to calm the situation and, in that time, the man with the children headbutted the homeless man, the security officer told the Bay of Plenty Times.
The security officer suspected the man who delivered the headbutt had been drinking due to his lack of balance and the smell of his breath.
The two guards, working to keep the social distance between them and the men, asked the pair to split up and the man with the children became verbally abusive and made threats while moving further down the road.
As the guards made up the ground between them, the man started verbally abusing them and then spat at one of the guards, the spit landing on his vest.
The man wouldn't move on, and grabbed a scooter, trying to swing it at the other guard, the security officer said.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG
"He was getting really nasty. We were maintaining social distance, trying to keep everyone safe, and for some reason, he just reacted with violence," the guard said.
"The (other) guard defended himself and grabbed the scooter and I grabbed him."
He said he requested the police give the man a warning.
"It was really bad."
The security officer said there had been some "serious issues" in the area this year.
There had been hundreds of incidents involving drugs and alcohol, with "a lot of aggression".
"Yes, it's a vulnerable situation. Yes, they're vulnerable people."
When asked if he felt safe working there, he said "to be honest, sometimes we don't".
"We tried not to restrain but we had no choice."
The security guards had asked for vests and body cameras due to feeling unsafe, he said.
In general, he said compliance for level 4 Covid rules seemed "a lot less" than last year, with streets filled with families walking and biking, people using the ATM without a mask and multiple people walking into dairies.
This week he also saw three people denied entry to a bus because they were not wearing masks, as well as people drinking in the streets, despite a liquor ban.
Tauranga homeless advocate Heidi Tidmarsh was near the bus stop on Willow St when the incident involving the man with the children unfolded.
"It was a bit of a scene ... all of [the] kids were crying and I had to burst my bubble and hug one of the kids ... it was sad."
A police media spokeswoman said police received a report about an aggressive person outside the Willow St bus stop.
She said police staff attended and spoke with the person. No complaint was made and the person involved was moved on.
Throughout lockdown, she said there had been no reported incidents of assault by coughing or spitting.
As of 5pm yesterday, police had issued 60 infringement notices in the Bay of Plenty district for lockdown breaches.
The majority - 52 - were for failing to remain at home. Six were for obstructing or hindering a Medical Officer of Health or Person Assisting Med Officer/Failing to Comply with Order (Covid-19).
There was also one for a person in control of a workplace failing to display a QR code and a one for a person failing to wear a face covering on a premises.
Bay police also issued 17 warnings for lockdown breaches. Of those, seven were for Health Act breaches, three were for failure to comply with a Direction/Prohibition/Restriction (Covid-19) and seven were for failing to comply with an Order (Covid-19).
One person had been charged with two offences relating to alleged conduct at a lockdown protest in Tauranga last week.
The police 105 line had received 637 breach notifications - 422 about a gathering, 146 about a business, and 69 about a person.
A spokeswoman said overall, the police were pleased with the response to alert level 4 restrictions.
"While compliance has generally been very good across the country, a small number of incidents continue to attract police attention."
Other lockdown incidents to have hit the headlines in the Bay included a paraglider seen flying over Mauao, a maskless man who challenged police over being denied entry to a supermarket and mountain bikers injuring themselves in Rotorua forests. Pleasure boaties and surfers have been spotted in neighbouring Coromandel.