The man who allegedly confronted two Auckland police officers and pulled the trigger of his firearm at close range, avoiding injuring or killing anyone only because the gun's safety catch was on, can now be named.

Arapeta Hiraka, 36, appeared in the Manukau District Court last month on a raft of charges relating to the incident in Ōtāhuhu on September 13.

The machine operator from Whakatāne was initially granted interim name suppression.

However, when he appeared yesterday there was no request to continue or renew the name suppression, court staff confirmed.


Hiraka has pleaded not guilty to a raft of charges relating to the incident, which police described as "frightening".

The charges include:

• Unlawful possession of a pistol, namely a modified .22 calibre firearm.

• Two counts of using a firearm against a member of the police acting in the course of duty, knowing that person was a member of police.

• Unlawful possession of ammunition, namely 14 .22 calibre rounds, in a public place.

• Injuring a police officer with intent to injure.

• Stealing a Honda Odyssey.

Hiraka was remanded in custody until at least his next court appearance early next year.

Police have not ruled out further charges against the alleged gunman.

The incident unfolded just after 9.30pm on a Wednesday night after two officers in a patrol car tried to stop a stolen vehicle.

Hiraka was allegedly driving.


Police said he got out and ran up to the police car.

It is alleged Hiraka then aimed a cut-down rifle at the officers - and pulled the trigger twice.

Miraculously, the firearm - which was loaded and cocked - did not discharge as the safety catch was on.

"One of the officers was able to taser the offender, causing him to drop the firearm," said Inspector Naila Hassan.

"The offender then tried to get into the police car and was tasered a second time."

Hiraka allegeldy resisted arrest and punched one of the officers in the face twice.

He then tried to flee the scene.

But the other officer deployed their taser, which subdued the alleged offender.

He was eventually arrested.

One of the officers received cuts and bruising but did not require medical treatment.

Hassan said it was an "extremely distressing" incident for the staff involved.

"Our community will be horrified by this alarming incident, which could have easily had a tragic outcome for our police officers," she said.

"Our brave staff come to work every day to keep the public safe and the absolute last thing they deserve is to be threatened with a firearm.

"I want to praise the courageous actions of our staff involved, who acted quickly in a highly stressful situation to disarm the alleged offender and ensure not only their own safety, but the safety of our community."

The incident came a day after the 10th anniversary of the fatal shooting of Sergeant Don Wilkinson.

Wilkinson was fatally shot on September 11, 2008, while carrying out undercover duties in Māngere.

NZ Police Association president Chris Cahill. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Mark Mitchell
NZ Police Association president Chris Cahill. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Mark Mitchell

Police Association president Chris Cahill said the incident was horrendous.

"It's just scary how it just relied totally on luck," he said.

"I just get worried that our luck's going to run out ...

"So many offenders are being found with firearms that it's only a matter of time until these sort of incidents occur with a more serious outcome.

"The really unfortunate thing is, until we do something about the proliferation of firearms in the hands of criminals, similar incidents with a much worse result could happen again

Cahill said politicians and the wider community should take this as a wake-up call.

"It is exactly the sort of incident the association has been speaking of with respect to the
proliferation of illegal firearms in our communities," he said.

He was also concerned that officers were regularly taking a taser to a gunfight.

"We know that tasers are not always effective," he said.

"They are an excellent deterrent in situations where officers are confronted by offenders
armed with weapons including knives, but they are no match for firearms. In this case they worked and that is a relief."

Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the welfare of police staff was the organisation's number one priority.

"Policing can be unpredictable and that is why it is so important that whenever we have an incident of this nature, we always review the circumstances to ensure that we have the best policy and practice in place in order to support our staff in the field," he said.

"Our staff should not have to deal with these types of situations, but the reality of policing means our officers are put in dangerous situations every day.

"However, our staff are well trained and have a number of tactical options available to them.

"We back our officers to make the appropriate decisions at the time according to the circumstances facing them."

"Our officers do not go to work to be shot at. It should never be just part of the job."

Earlier this month a police officer who shot a man dead while on duty spoke about his experience, hoping to shine a light on what frontline cops have to deal with in relation to armed offenders.