A 27km stretch of State Highway 1 near Puhoi has been reopened 12 hours after a man was shot dead.

The main highway between Woodcocks Rd and Silverdale had been closed since about 4am this morning after police shot a man who was coming towards them with a machete.

Police earlier said they were aiming to have the road reopened by 3pm. The coroner's car left the cordoned off area at 3.15pm and tow trucks were seen heading in about the same time.

Police said the road was reopened at 3.55pm. They thanked people for their patience.

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A reporter at the scene said there were still queues near the cordons.

Queues waiting to get through to Puhoi shortly after State Highway 1 was reopened. Photo / Brittany Keogh
Queues waiting to get through to Puhoi shortly after State Highway 1 was reopened. Photo / Brittany Keogh

Southbound traffic was being diverted to SH16 via Woodcocks Rd.

Northbound traffic was being diverted to Kahikatea Flat Rd at Silverdale and then through to SH16.

Motorists reported traffic jams on the detour routes.

One reader reported queues near Waitoki, another confirmed it took an hour to get from Silverdale to the SH16 intersection on Kahikatea Flat Rd, Waitoki.

NZ Transport Agency Auckland Transport Operations Centre manager Rua Pani earlier said State Highway 16 was the only alternative route for north-south traffic. There was no north-south access via the Hibiscus Coast Highway or east coast roads.

Traffic chaos on Pine Valley Rd, which feeds onto Kahikatea Flat Rd after a shooting near Pohuehue closed State Highway 1. Photo / Tess Nichol
Traffic chaos on Pine Valley Rd, which feeds onto Kahikatea Flat Rd after a shooting near Pohuehue closed State Highway 1. Photo / Tess Nichol

Motorists were advised to leave State Highway 1 at Silverdale or Warkworth to get on to State Highway 16. Motorists could continue on State Highway 1 north to reach the beachside communities at Orewa and Whangaparaoa and south to reach Warkworth, but there was be no through traffic.

This afternoon Pani thanked people for understanding.

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"We realise the inconvenience this will have caused for many road users and the significant impact it may have had on Easter travel plans.

"Many road users will want to get on with their travel plans all at the same time now, so we advise motorists to plan their journeys and to check the latest travel updates on the NZTA website and social media accounts before setting off."

The Auckland Motorway Alliance had planned road works tonight from 8pm to 8am on State Highway 1 from Oteha Valley to Silverdale but, in light of the delays today, they had been postponed until tomorrow, she said.

The shooting

A 29-year-old east Auckland was fatally shot by police after coming towards officers with a machete.

He was shot dead near Pohuehue, north of Auckland.

Police block State HIghway 1 near Puhoi after a shooting. Photo / Tess Nichol
Police block State HIghway 1 near Puhoi after a shooting. Photo / Tess Nichol

Waitemata District Commander Superintendent Tusha Penny told media the shooting was related to an earlier police callout at an address in Onehunga.

A female called police to report a person known to her had been acting erratically.

She left the scene because she feared for her safety.

Police were sent to the property about 3.10am, however no people or vehicles were there when they arrived.

About 20 minutes later, a rural police officer heading home from a shift saw a car pulled over with its hazard lights on SH1 north of Auckland.

However, the car quickly drove off. The police car followed and the car then stopped again.

As the officer was about to get out of his vehicle the driver of the car got out and came around to the driver's door of the police car, wielding a machete and threatening the officer.

The officer quickly moved away and called for backup. The officer watched the offender from a safe distance.

The alleged offender then got back into his car and headed south on SH1 towards Puhoi.

Additional police resources, including the Eagle helicopter, were called on to help.

The driver was believed to have been travelling at speeds of up to 150km/h and at times with lights off, Penny said.

Police placed spikes on the road, which successfully stopped the vehicle near Mahurangi West Rd about 3.50am.

As the first officers got out of the police car, the man, still armed with a machete, approached police again.

Police fired shots as he came towards them. Officers immediately started first aid and called an ambulance, but the man died at the scene.

The man is from east Auckland, but police will not be able to release his name until he has been formally identified and next of kin informed, said Penny.