The suspected car thief who sparked a manhunt after allegedly pulling a gun on police officers last night before stealing their car has a history of violent firearms offending.

Police in Ohakune pulled over a car for a breath test when a passenger - who they believe was Tama Michael Rawhiti, 33 - pulled out a gun, held up the officers, jumped in their car along with a female passenger, drove off, then crashed into a gate post.

The pair then fled on foot.

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Police car stolen at gunpoint, crashed, offenders flee in Ohakune

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A manhunt was launched last night but police have not found the pair.

Police warned Rawhiti had at least one gun with him and should not be approached.

Rawhiti was also on the run from police back in 2012 after officers reported found loaded firearms and drugs at his address and recalled him from parole.

At the time police said the 26-year-old was a gang member who had contacts in the Hutt Valley, Wanganui, Palmerston North and Dannevirke.

Detective Sergeant Christiaan Barnard said at the time Rawhiti had a history of violent offending involving firearms and warned the public not to approach him as he was dangerous.

A photo of Rawhiti supplied by police in 2012 when he was being sought over a parole recall warrant.
A photo of Rawhiti supplied by police in 2012 when he was being sought over a parole recall warrant.