The prime suspect at the centre of today's major man hunt

in the central North Island has a history of similar offending.

Dolphy Tetawhero Kohu, 24, is on the run with four other men and women after ramming a police car, shooting at the two pursuing officers at close range then fleeing in the police vehicle about 2.30am.

The rampage echoes Kohu's criminal past that includes at least two firearms incidents, evading authorities and repeatedly breaching his parole conditions.

Advertisement

Kohu was most recently released from prison in June. Read the Parole Board decision.

He was jailed for a wilful damage offence committed in February while he was on parole for a 30-month sentence imposed after he shot at a family in Whanganui in 2012.

In February, Kohu smashed in the windows of a car he wanted to buy in Tauranga with a vodka bottle because he thought the sellers "had ripped him off".

He was recalled to prison in March and despite his long history of breaching court orders, was granted parole.

The Parole Board decision said: "We are satisfied that no further breaches are likely given that he has a completely different focus now he has to provide for his partner who is pregnant and having health issues".

Kohu was in jail for a shooting in March 2012 when he fired a shotgun at a family in Aramoho, near Whanganui.

He fired a second shot into the air and took off, leaving one victim with shotgun pellets embedded in his skin.

Kohu spent the next six weeks on the run before he was eventually arrested in Wellington on May 4, 2012.

Advertisement

At the time of the shooting, he was on parole as part of a three-year prison sentence for the aggravated robbery of a Whanganui dairy in 2008.

In 2011, police issued a warrant for arrest after breaching his prison release conditions "over violence matters".

When he was sentenced for the shooting in March 2013, Judge Cameron said brandishing and discharging a firearm in a public place needed a stern response from the courts, "even more so when it's pointed directly at people".

At the time of the aggravated robbery in 2008, Kohu was just 16 and on bail for other offences.

On the night of the robbery, Kohu burst into the dairy holding a shotgun while an accomplice leapt the counter and stole $470 worth of cigarettes and tobacco.

His co-accused hit the woman dairy owner - who was there alone with her 4-year-old daughter - in the face.

Advertisement

CCTV footage showed the woman and her daughter screaming.

At his sentencing in 2009, Judge Callinicos expressed serious concern at Kohu and his co-accused and took a tough line with the young men.

"I am the sentencing judge for five of these cases and wish to make clear that I will be handing down sentences that will serve as a deterrent to the other young offenders. For other young men like you there will be prison sentences. The public are entitled to safety in this town."

Timeline of history

September 2008 - Robbed a Whanganui dairy with a sawn-off shotgun while on bail for other offences

March 2009 - Sentenced to 3 years 9 months prison for the aggravated robbery

June 2011 - Sought by police for breaching prison release conditions "over violence matters"

Advertisement

March 2012 - While on parole fired a shotgun at a family in Whanganui and spent six weeks on the run from police

May 2012 - Arrested in Wellington

March 2013 - Sentenced to 2.5 years prison for the shooting

February - Recalled to prison for breaching parole conditions by smashing the windows of a car he wanted to buy with a vodka bottle

March - Granted parole after it was found "no further breaches are likely"

June - Released from prison

Advertisement

July - Corrections applied to the Parole Board to have Kohu recalled to prison for breaching his parole conditions