A man has been shot dead after taking three children hostage - and holding a machete to the throat of one of them - at a home in Tauranga.
Police were called to the property in Oriana Crescent in the early hours of this morning after the man threatened his partner with a knife.
The woman managed to escape, making her way to a neighbour's house to call for help. Three children remained in the house, along with the man.
Bay of Plenty Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said police were told about concerns for the children as soon as they arrived.
"Due to those concerns, Police entered the property, where they found the man holding a large machete to the throat of one of the children."
"The man retreated into a wardrobe with that child and a second child."
McGregor said police withdrew from the property immediately, and were able to facilitate the safe escape of a third child at the same time.
The Police Negotiation Team and Armed Offenders Squad tried to work with the man but communication with him was limited and concerns for the children increased as the day went on.
"Medical advice received was that there were grave concerns for the children's health due not only to their age, but a lack of food and a potential for dehydration given the high temperature in the area of the house where the man had barricaded himself with the children."
"Police entered the property shortly after 3pm, where they were confronted by the man. He was shot by police and pronounced dead at the scene."
McGregor said the two children who had been kept hostage are safe and uninjured.
Neighbours said they heard several loud bangs and saw children being carried out the house.
A neighbour told NZME she heard up to 11 loud bangs which she described as "gunshots" about 3.30pm.
"Bullets were going through the roof."
Smoke could be seen outside the house.
Moments after the bangs, neighbours watched as police dressed in full black tactical gear carried what appeared to be two children out of the house.
McGregor said police are working to support the family.
"This was an experience nobody should have to go through and all involved will need ongoing care and support as they come to terms with today's events."
"Our staff have also been left shaken by this incident."
The IPCA have been notified of this incident and our Critical Incident Investigation is also under way.
The man's death will be referred to the Coroner.
As part of an ongoing scene examination, cordons will remain in place on Oriana Crescent, however residents of the street are free to come and go.
"We would like to thank residents for their cooperation and assistance today."
A St John Ambulance spokesperson said two people with minor injuries have been taken to Tauranga Hospital.
Neighbours said they were not aware of a disturbance overnight but woke today to find police officers in the street.
One, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said he could hear the police talking in an upstairs room of the house next to him.
He said he could hear arguing at about 1am but then it all went quiet.
The man got up to go fishing at about 4.30am and saw the police cars had blocked the entrance to his street.
He said he had lived on the street for the last six years and said he had "never seen anything like it".
"It is normally a pretty quiet street."