A search for an armed offender who reportedly fired a gun in Waipawa forced much of the town's High St and surrounding area into lockdown for nearly two hours.

Police continued to hunt the offender on Thursday evening, hours after Waverley St and then Kenilworth and Church St were cordoned off by armed police who zeroed in on a residential property.

A police spokeswoman said they received a report of a firearm being discharged at an address in the Central Hawke's Bay town shortly after 12pm.

They quickly told residents and business workers in the near vicinity to shelter in place, an order that included the Waipawa Kindergarten.


In a Central Hawke's Bay District Council Facebook post, the council said at 1pm it had received reports from police of "an armed man in the Waipawa CBD".

"If you are in this area, please stay indoors and away from windows. Please also stay away from the CBD area until further notice is given."

Officers had cleared the address where a firearms discharge was reported and cordons had been stood down about 1.50pm, a police spokesperson said.

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Alex Walker said "people are feeling a little bit rattled but on the whole feeling safe, it's a strange thing to have happened".

There were no reported injuries.

Police said inquiries are ongoing to locate the offender.