The 42-year-old paraplegic man killed during a shoot-out with police in the Christchurch suburb of Burnside was a licensed firearms holder.

Shayne Sime's body was removed from the scene this afternoon but police caution their investigation is likely to be lengthy.

A post mortem on Mr Sime will start this evening and continue into tomorrow.

Detective Superintendent Brett Kane said that Mr Sime had been a licensed firearms holder since 2006, which gave him a licence to Category A firearms (sporting shotguns and rifles).

"He belonged to a gun club. He had a shot gun and a high calibre fire weapon," Mr Kane said.

He said an examination of Mr Sime's house had not yet been started so it was not known if there were any other weapons.

A report that police had previously been called to the address over a firearms incident had been clarified, Mr Kane said.

"In February this year a neighbour reported shots, this was investigated and Mr Sime was found to be firing his son's bb gun at a cardboard box. No offence was established."

Police said cordons remained in place and about 40 residents evacuated from their homes were not likely to be allowed back to their homes for a day or two.

"We are mindful this will be disruptive but we will be working thoroughly," Mr Kane said.

He said the police officer shot in the incident had minor surgery this afternoon to remove pellets from his face and would make a full recovery.

A neighbour blasted with shotgun pellets from his shoulder to his groin was also in a stable condition.

Police had not yet interviewed the man who had been standing near his front door and escaped over a rear fence.

The sequence of events was yet to be confirmed but police said they were called around 8pm and the armed offenders squad set up a cordon around 8.20pm.

Mr Kane said negotiations were started and continued for about two hours.

"There was indiscriminate shooting throughout the event. The number of shots will be confirmed from the investigation however a neighbour counted at least 82 shots.

"Shots were fired from the front and rear of the property and Mr Sime showed some agility," Mr Kane said.

"This was a very dangerous situation. There was extensive damage to a neighbouring house and there is large amount of wadding on the lawn."

Mr Kane said Mr Sime appeared to have lived alone.

He was a member of the New Zealand Handloaders Association and one of his former clubmates described him as a "reasonable sort of fellow".

Committee member and shotgun convenor Bruce Adams said Mr Sime joined the association about four months ago and would shoot every week on the Christchurch club's shotgun range until the last three weeks.

"He stopped coming. I thought it might have been because of the cold, because it's damn cold out there (on the range) and that might have kept him away," Mr Adams told NZPA.

"He seemed to be a reasonable sort of fellow. But he didn't talk to people much at all. He'd just say gidday and then sit back and not make much conversation.

"We didn't know about his background at all."

Mr Sime wasn't a good marksman because he suffered from muscular dystrophy and was restricted to his wheelchair, Mr Adams said.

"Out of 10 (clay) targets, he might hit four or something like that.

"He used to enjoy himself and was never disappointed (with his shooting), but he never made friends easily."