A man who sparked an armed offenders squad callout in Kawakawa is thought to have made his escape by jumping into a fast-flowing river.
Yesterday's drama came just a day after another armed offenders squad callout in the Far North, when a man fired multiple shots at a house in Ahipara then fled by car then on foot.
On Monday specialist squad officers were flown up by helicopter; with yesterday's dire weather they travelled by road from Whangarei.
A witness, who ''wanted to stay out of it'' so didn't give his name, told the Advocate he saw the wanted man walking casually down Kawakawa's main street about noon yesterday when a police officer spotted him.
The man ran away around the back of Carter's tyre shop then across paddocks with the officer in pursuit. He believed the man had jumped into the Kawakawa River to escape when police brought in a tracking dog.
Police descended on the town in large numbers, posting lookouts at the Three Bridges, on the railway tracks near the bowling club, and on a bridge over Waiomio Stream at Johnson Park.
For a time officers stopped and searched all vehicles on North Rd and blocked off State Highway 11 at the junction with SH1, causing traffic to back up through Kawakawa as far as Three Bridges. The roadblock was lifted at 1.40pm.
Around 2pm members of the squad searched a house on Paihia Rd/SH11 which was thought to be connected to the wanted man's family.
Police appeared to give up the search shortly afterwards but returned about 3pm after reports of a fresh sighting. They were still looking for him at edition time yesterday.
Meanwhile, police have released the name and a photo of the man wanted in relation to Monday's incident.
Inspector Riki Whiu, Far North Area Commander, said police were looking for 44-year-old Rawiri Teruru Ihaka, who was wanted to arrest for assaulting a person with a firearm.
Ihaka was also wanted in connection to the incident in Ahipara when a firearm was discharged at a house on Takahe St.
He was described as being of medium build and 182cm tall with a tattoo of a cross on his right forearm. He is considered dangerous and should not be approached.
''If you see Rawiri Ihaka, please call 111 immediately,'' Mr Whiu said.
Anyone with information on Ihaka's whereabouts is urged to contact Kaitaia police on (09) 408 6500 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.