Schools in Nelson are in lockdown as police hunt for a man with a large knife.

Nelson police say several schools in the city's southern suburb of Stoke have been told to keep pupils inside.

Schools in the area include Nayland College and primary school, and Broadgreen Intermediate.

Fairfax report a man was spotted carrying a large knife in the surrounding streets.

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Principals have been told to keep pupils in their classrooms this morning as a precautionary measure.