Police cordons have now been lifted at Barrett Rd in Whakamarama after armed police swooped on the rural Tauranga area where explosions were heard this morning.
A police spokeswoman earlier said police and the Armed Offenders Squad were doing a search in the area, but would not release any further information.
A reporter at the scene said a couple of loud bangs that sounded like explosions were heard about 9.15am coming from behind the Whakamarama Superette, on the main highway between Tauranga and Katikati.
A Bay of Plenty Times reader who was travelling towards Tauranga at 8.30am said Barrett Rd, leading to State Highway 2, had been shut down and traffic was heavily backed up.
The reporter said police had cordoned off Barrett Rd leading into Whakamarama Rd and people were not allowed into the Whakamarama superette on SH2.
"There is a scattering of police between Te Puna and Whakamarama."
A police communications spokeswoman said cordons had now been lifted at Barrett Road and inquiries were ongoing.