Frontline police have seized more than 600 firearms across Auckland in less than a year, including 20 military-style semi-automatics that are now banned.
New figures released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show an escalation in gun violence has left at least 23 people injured and seven dead since December 2018.
But the figures don't include two recent shooting at a Favona house where 57-year-old grandmother Meliame Fisi'ihoi was gunned down nearly a fortnight ago in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is blaming drug trafficking and organised crime for the spike in violence.
The Police Association says the statistics paint a worrying picture about the sheer volume of firearms now circulating in the criminal underworld.
"That's pretty scary," Association president Chris Cahill told the Herald.
"That demonstrates why you get a large number of police officers saying they feel they need to be generally armed. Also, you can understand why police are trialling armed response teams."
The Herald requested data from the police Gun Safe initiative, which began tracking the number of firearms incidents police attended since December 2018.
It shows police recorded 566 firearms incidents across the city between December 28, 2018, and December 2, 2019, - more than half of them in South Auckland.
Some of these incidents involved multiple weapons, with a total of 709 individual firearms recorded.
The weapons included 186 rifles, 166 airguns, 138 shotguns, 101 pistols, 74 imitation firearms, 20 MSSAs, 16 unknown weapons and eight restricted firearms.
Offenders discharged a firearm in 78 cases, resulting in 23 people being injured and seven others shot dead.
Fisi'ihoi's killing takes the fatality count to eight.
Of the 709 firearms recorded, 646 were seized, recovered or surrendered. Another 63 weapons were not located and are still circulating in the community.
The shooting figures include self-harm incidents, and one incident in which police fired at an offender but missed.
The Herald reported last month that a surge in Auckland gun violence had seen nearly 150 shooting victims admitted to the city's hospitals in just four years.
Those figures were described as "staggering", sparking calls from police and community leaders for residents to stand up and report criminal behaviour to help get the guns off our streets.
Goff said the city was generally a safe place to live and visit but the spike in shootings was a huge concern.
"It creates insecurity in the parts of the city where it is concentrated, and much of it is clearly connected with organised crime and drug trafficking."
He had raised concerns about the increasing violence with central Government and was receiving regular briefings from police district commanders.
"We welcome the overdue increase in police numbers, particularly in Counties Manukau, and support the increased emphasis on tackling organised crime and gang involvement in drugs.
"We also want to work with Government to tackle the underlying causes of young people being recruited into gangs and New Zealand's high level of domestic violence."
Goff welcomed tighter gun controls laws in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks, which could help prevent other mass shootings.
Cahill said the Gun Safe programme was designed to provide hard evidence about the number of guns in circulation.
He was alarmed that frontline cops were encountering firearms in Auckland at least daily.
"What gets lost is the number of people injured or murdered by firearms. That really shows how this gun violence is escalating."
The introduction of a gun registry was essential in tracking firearms and preventing them falling into criminals' hands, he said.
Counties Manukau acting district commander Inspector Matt Srhoj said police had committed significant investigative resources to the recent South Auckland shootings.
Officers had made arrests in each of the homicide cases and many of the seized firearms were the result of those investigations.
While the number of shootings was a concern, Srhoj said it was pleasing to remove more than 700 firearms from the city's streets in the last year.
However it would be "speculative" to estimate what proportion of the guns currently in circulation the seized weapons represented, he said.
Police could not tackle firearms violence and organised crime alone, and Srhoj called on the public to speak up and report criminal activity, even if that meant reporting family members.
"We encourage the community to take a stand. It's about doing the right thing."
A trail of gun violence crime:
• January 15: Grandmother Meliame Fisi'ihoi, 57, gunned down after answering her front door in Calthorp Close, Favona in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity.
• December 4: A man is critically injured after being shot in the same Calthorp Close property where Fisi'ihoi was later killed. He is believed to be her son.
• August 9: A man suffered life-threatening injuries after a shooting at Billington Ave in Ōtara. The South Auckland property was described by neighbours as being occupied by gang members.
• July 26: A teenager was taken to hospital in a critical condition after a shooting on Featherston Crescent, Ōtara. A 34-year-old man was charged with wounding.
• July 6: A woman was shot at a property on Dawson Rd, Clover Park in South Auckland. Two young men, aged 17 and 20, were charged with wounding.
• May 25: Samiuela Anania Tupou was fatally shot at Seaside Park in Ōtāhuhu.Two men charged with murdering the 21-year-old have pleaded not guilty.
• May 17: Joseph Siaosi was fatally shot by an occupant of a car as he walked away from a confrontation in South Auckland. The 23-year-old died on the front lawn of the family home in Piako St, Ōtara. Two people have been charged in connection with the death.
• April 26: Killer Beez gang president Josh Masters was shot at a Harley Davidson dealership in Mt Wellington. Masters was hospitalised in a critical condition. A 39-year-old man was charged with attempted murder.
• April 20: Father-of-five Siaosi Tulua, 39, was fatally shot at his home on Darnell Cres, in Clover Park. Two people have been charged with murder.
• March 13: Arthur (Afa) Brown, 26, was fatally shot on Vine St in Māngere just before 1am. A 21-year-old male pleaded guilty to murder.
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