Four Whanganui schools were in lockdown after a man wearing a balaclava was seen carrying a gun this morning.

Streets in the suburb of Tawhero were under police cordon after the man was spotted just before 8am on Friday.

The lockdown and cordons were lifted about 9.15am after police searched the area and found nothing of concern.

A police spokeswoman said Tawhero, St Marcellin and Rutherford Junior High Schools and the Pasifika Learning Centre were all in lockdown.

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Armed police outside Tawhero School. Photo / Stuart Munro
Armed police outside Tawhero School. Photo / Stuart Munro

She said parents were advised to delay dropping off children at school while the hunt for the gunman was under way.

A resident of the suburb said police were swarming the area while the lockdown was in place.

Photo / Stuart Munro
Photo / Stuart Munro

Whanganui acting Area Commander Andrew McDonald said police had cordoned the area around Tawhero School as a precaution and the school voluntarily had gone into lockdown.

Police received only one report of the man with the gun and had not been found anyone who fitted the description in Tawhero.

McDonald said a detailed search of the wider area was completed and he are now satisfied there was no longer a risk to the community.

"The school has done a fantastic job and their response was quick and effective. Police staff responded quickly and we had staff in the area within minutes of the emergency call and the area was cordoned."

If any children or parents had been affected by the incident they could call Victim Support on 0800 842 846.