More than 55,000 firearms and close to 200,000 firearms parts have been handed in during the Government's gun buyback amnesty.
Police today released their provisional data showing the final totals of collected guns from the six-month buyback amnesty scheme.
Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said the large number of firearms handed in showed most gun owners understood why the buyback took place.
"We hope to never again see the kind of attack we saw in Christchurch," he said.
"Right from the beginning, we have said that the prohibition of semi-automatics was not blaming law-abiding people with legitimate uses for their gun."
Provisional figures showed 56,250 firearms and 194,245 parts had been handed in during the six-month buyback that ended at midnight yesterday.
Police also experienced a last-minute rush with 4154 hand-ins during the final week.
"We kept our collection events open late last night to ensure those firearms owners who left it to the last minute did have the opportunity to do the right thing," Clement said.
He said the buyback had been an unprecedented logistical exercise with police having just three months to get the processes in place and start talking with firearms owners.
"Police wanted to support firearm owners by providing a range of options to hand in their prohibited firearms."
Those included holding 685 collection events across New Zealand from Stewart Island to Kaitaia.
Police went to more than 270 private homes where people had large numbers of firearms or difficulty in getting to a station to hand over the guns.
Forty three gun dealers also collected 6145 firearms on behalf of police.
"We also made it clear that there were exemption options if they met the criteria to retain their firearm under the P endorsement licence," Clement said.
This meant gun owners eligible to modify and keep their guns for either sentimental purposes or as a "working tool" were able to go to one of 37 official gunsmiths.
It had led to 2717 firearms being modified and made lawful.
"Police really have made every effort to provide frequent and accessible options to firearms owners so there really were no excuses for not taking part," Clement said.
"While there were lessons we learnt along the way, overwhelmingly those that took part told us we got it right and this was verified through an independent survey."
Police would now follow up with the small number of licensed owners whom they knew had deliberately flouted the law and not handed in their firearms.
Clement said police had been very clear about the repercussions to those who did not hand in firearms.
"For anyone that has refused to abide by the law, my advice to you is to go to a station and hand in your firearm under amnesty now," he said.
"You will not receive any compensation but this is the best thing you can do if you do not want to face the other option – potential prosecution and the loss of your licence."
Clement acknowledged the process had been difficult for some people but thanked all the gun owners that took part in the buyback.
Police Minister Stuart Nash also hailed the buyback a success yesterday.
"We have taken well over 50,000 of these guns out of our community," he said.
"That's got to be a good thing."
But Council of Licensed Firearms Owners spokeswoman Nicole McKee said the buyback has been a failure.
She believed there are 170,000 prohibited guns in New Zealand and that "50,000 is not a number to boast about".