A 50m stretch of a Napier street was cordoned off just after 11am today after a resident reported finding what appeared to be a torpedo-like bomb in his garage.

Graeme Moorcock and his wife moved into the McDonald St in house about a month ago came across it while clearing shelves.

"I picked it up and had a good look at it, and put it back," he said.

He was more intrigued by the device than worried by it, but while it appeared harmless he decided this morning to call the local army office to get it checked out - "just in case."

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Two army personnel arrived and took a look at the device, which was about 40cm long and had a yellow tip and a brown body which ended with a tail section not unlike an aerial bomb, and took photos of it which they immediately emailed to disposal experts in Wellington.

The result was the dispatch of a specialist bomb disposal crew which was due to arrive around 3pm.

The army contacted police.

"Next thing I know they're at the door and asking me to leave the house," Mr Moorcock said.

"I don't think it's anything much but you have to take these precautions I suppose," he said.

"Better to be safe than sorry," was the response of one police officer manning the cordon.

A 20m safety zone was set up and neighbours on both sides of the house asked to stay out until the device was identified.

Pupils at nearby Nelson Park School were not at risk, police said.