A man was shot in the face with an air-pistol by a ginger-haired assailant who laughed as he drove away, police say.

The victim was shot just below the eye yesterday while standing by his car at a rest area in the Waioeka Gorge, between Gisborne and Opotiki.

The 20-year-old man was driving back to Auckland's North Shore from the Rhythm and Vines festival in Gisborne with friends and had stopped about midday, police said.

The driver got out of the car and was standing beside the vehicle.


As a line of traffic passed, a person in the passenger seat of a dark-coloured SUV pointed an air-pistol at the driver and his car.

He shot the car and then the driver, with the pellet lodging in tissue just beneath the victim's eye.

Police said the victim was in hospital in a stable condition and would undergo surgery to remove the pellet.

The shooter is described as a white male with light or ginger hair, and was heard to laugh as they drove off.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or saw similar behaviour around this time and location is urged to contact Detective Sergeant Steven Pivac at North Shore Police on 09 477 5000, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.