Three Kerikeri men have been arrested and two sawn-off firearms seized after a gang shooting in Auckland.

Josh Masters, president of the Killer Beez gang, was shot at a Harley-Davidson store in Auckland's Mt Wellington on Friday last week.

He was critically injured in the shooting but at the last report was in a stable condition in hospital.

On the same day, 39-year-old Akustino Tae appeared in the Manukau District Court charged with attempted murder.

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The shooting is thought to have been the result of escalating tensions between the Killer Beez and the Tribesmen gangs.

It sparked concerns that those tensions could spill over in Northland, where Masters has close links including whānau and followers.

That has prompted Mid North police to proactively target the two gangs in an attempt to head off any trouble.

Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston said a number of homes and vehicles were searched in Kaikohe and Kerikeri on Wednesday, leading to three arrests in Kerikeri.

Police also seized two firearms which had been sawn off to pistol length.

The men, all in aged in their 20s, had been charged with a variety of offences including unlawful possession of firearms and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis.

They appeared in the Kaikohe District Court on Thursday.

''Because of the rising tensions we have been actively policing these groups, and that led to the arrests. Good work by the guys getting these firearms out of the hands of these groups.''

Johnston said police had been made aware of rising tensions between the rival groups in Northland but no official complaints had been lodged, as was usually the case with such groups.

He was unable to comment further about the arrests now the matter was before the courts.

The Killer Beez started in 2003 as a youth ''feeder gang'' to funnel recruits to the Tribesmen, Canterbury University gang expert Jarrod Gilbert said.

The Tribesmen set it up in the style of a Los Angeles street gang to make it more appealing to young members. However, relations between the two groups had soured since then.

Gilbert said it had potential to ramp up into gang warfare if police didn't keep a lid on it.

Masters had only been released from prison last July after serving more than 10 years in jail on drug and money-laundering charges.