Two properties were reportedly shot at in the western Bay of Plenty today, terrifying neighbours and prompting large-scale armed police callouts.
The first report of shots being fired came in just after midnight from Hairini and the second at 1.50pm in rural Te Puke, according to police.
The incidents followed damage to a commercial property in Greerton over the weekend that was later gutted by fire on Monday morning.
Western Bay police Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner said police were "investigating each of these incidents separately, as well as any possible links between them, and any potential gang involvement".
"We are looking at increasing proactive police patrols in the Western Bay area to offer public reassurance and help prevent any repeated incidents."
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Multiple shell casings lay on the road in Haukore St, Hairini, yesterday after the first shooting.
Police have confirmed "a large number of shots" were fired towards the house.
Residents said a man repeatedly shot at a car parked in the driveway of a home believed to have young children inside.
A police spokeswoman said officers responded to reports of gunshots about 12.24am.
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Armed police stayed at the scene for more than 11 hours yesterday as police worked to establish the circumstances of the incident.
There were no reported injuries, she said.
A concerned resident said she heard quick, loud bangs which sounded like firecrackers going off.
"When I stepped outside to get a closer look I soon realised the sound wasn't fireworks, but they were really fast shots from an automatic or semi-automatic firearm," she said.
"It happened very quickly and soon after the shots ended the shooter took off in a car quite fast, but because it was dark, I didn't see who was driving.
"My first concern was for the woman and her kids who live at the house and luckily they were okay, but a car parked in her driveway was all shot up," she said.
"You can see about over 30 shell cases spread halfway across the lawn and nearby road.
"Not long after the shooting about eight police vehicles turned up and all the police were armed. They were nice and quick, which is great as we didn't know whether anyone else was still around, or whether the shooter would come back," the woman said.
"I only moved to Tauranga two weeks ago and I thought the area was nice and quiet, and it's disturbing and scary that something like this can happen."
Another resident said her partner looked out a window after hearing the sound of the shots being fired and could see the shooter standing at the bottom of a driveway firing their weapon towards their neighbour's house, she said.
"In the dark, my partner couldn't see the exact firearm, but he could see the repeated flashes coming out of the gun and there were multiple shots," she said.
"It was definitely some kind of automatic or semi-automatic firearm."
She said the shooter left in a vehicle and she believed there were other people in the car too.
Another neighbour said she was just having a drink in her kitchen when she heard what she had thought was the "bang bang of fireworks" going off.
"But I soon realised it wasn't fireworks but someone shooting at my neighbour's car.
"It was very frightening and scary, especially as I knew the mother and her children were home and I was so relieved my grandkids who live with me were away for the night."
The woman said in the dark, the bullets could have gone anywhere and in her view it was only sheer luck no one was injured or killed because there were a lot of young children in the street.
"I didn't see the shooter but heard screeching of tyres of a vehicle taking off soon after."
The resident said the occupants at the property were a mother with three or four children, who had lived at the address for about eight years.
The vehicle was parked near the lounge and kitchen area where the woman had been watching television, she said.
The resident said she was so relieved that her neighbours were okay, but the woman at the property was naturally upset but also "very angry".
"I'm still trying to get my head around it. It's too close to home and disturbing as the bullets could have gone anywhere. There are lots of little kids living in this community."
Neighbours were also left frightened after the reported shooting incident in Te Puke later yesterday.
Police received several calls about 1.50pm about shots at a property on No 2 Rd.
Dozens of police officers, many heavily armed, were called to the scene, along with two ambulances and the police Eagle helicopter.
Police cordoned off the intersection of No 2 Rd and Dudley Vercoe Dr until about 5pm, when they moved the cordon further up No 2 Rd. About a dozen frustrated residents were left waiting at the cordon for access to their homes.
Two of the Bay of Plenty's top police officers - Tauranga area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton and Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Turner - were at the scene.
Tom Jeffery, a resident of No 2 Rd, said he heard shots about 12pm and did not think much about it.
"I thought it was someone shooting rabbits and headed into town to do some business about 10 minutes later."
As he drove past the intersection of Dudley Vercoe Grove he saw two police vehicles parked up. When he returned shortly after, the area was in lockdown, he said.
Two other No 2 Rd residents said they were told police were looking for someone on the run, possibly with a gun.
One said she locked the doors and shut the windows to keep herself and her baby safe a hearing of the incident.
She said she got "a fright" but felt safer having two dogs.
There was another incident on the road a few days ago, she said.
The other said he left his house to pick up coffee and came back to find the street locked down.
"I went round the corner and I was faced with the armed offenders (police) pointing a gun at me," he said.
"I was on my motorbike and the first thing I did was look down at my speedo'."
- Additional reporting Cira Olivier, Samantha Motion