Police have arrested a man who came out of a property that they had surrounded in Whangārei after a dramatic armed standoff.

Earlier, armed police, dogs and close to 20 patrol cars descended on an address blocking State Highway 1 as they sought a wanted individual.

A police spokesman said due to the major operation Western Hills Dr, SH1 had been closed between Central Ave and Selwyn Ave, near Caltex and Burger King.

The Armed Offenders Squad had responded as part of an ongoing police operation related to an individual at the address wanted for arrest.

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Motorists were asked to avoid the area and police contacted local schools, which were "taking precautions to ensure everyone's safety".

Cordons have now been removed around the scene, but traffic had backed up around the city this evening.

A 23-year-old was taken into custody and will appear in Whangārei on Saturday.

"Police would like to thank members of the public for their patience, particularly those unable to get to their homes or who were caught in traffic delays.

"As the matter is now before the courts, Police are unable to comment further."


A reporter at the scene said there were about 18 police vehicles around the Western Hills Dr property with armed police patrolling the scene. A dog handler has been following scents near Caltex.

It was believed a man wanted by police was in a flat on the property and that he could have a firearm.

Police negotiated with the man.

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The Caltex station has been evacuated and an armed police officer was standing outside the entrance.

People were watching the action unfold from the Burger King, on the corner of Western Hills Dr and Selwyn Ave, about 100 metres away from the surrounded property.

Two young men recording the action on their phones said they heard reports of an armed man in the property and the possibility of meth being in there too.

The disruption was causing traffic tailbacks throughout central Whangārei streets.

A person nearby earlier said they could see armed police, police dogs and about 20 patrol cars.

"It looks like every police car in Whangārei is here," he said.