Police say they had no option other than to shoot a man who was holding a knife to the chest of a child when they stormed his home this afternoon.
The fatal shooting ended a 15 hour standoff with the man, who had earlier threatened his partner with a knife before holding three children hostage all day.
Bay of Plenty Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said the man was known to police and held two of the three children in a wardrobe.
When asked if he was pleased with the way his team operated he said the negotiating team "tried everything to resolve" the situation.
"We had no other option. He's already threatened a woman...It's sad, but there was no other option. We had to get those kids out of that house."
Police were called to the property in Oriana Crescent in the early hours of this morning after the man threatened his partner with a knife.
The woman managed to escape, making her way to a neighbour's house to call for help.
Three children aged 4, 6 and 11, remained in the house with the man.
McGregor said police were told about concerns for the children as soon as they arrived.
"Due to those concerns, police entered the property, where they found the man holding a large machete to the throat of one of the children.
"He threatened to harm that child.
"The man retreated into a wardrobe with that child and a second child."
McGregor said police withdrew from the property immediately, and were able to facilitate the safe escape of a third child at the same time.
Police negotiators and the Armed Offenders Squad tried to work with the man but McGregor said communication with him was limited and concerns for the children increased as the day went on.
"Medical advice received was that there were grave concerns for the children's health due not only to their age, but a lack of food and a potential for dehydration given the high temperature in the area of the house where the man had barricaded himself with the children."
"Police entered the property shortly after 3pm, where they were confronted by the man."
At this stage he was holding a knife to the chest of one of the children.
The police negotiators and physiologists made the decision they "were not going to get any further with the offender".
"He was shot by police and pronounced dead at the scene."
McGregor said the two children who had been kept hostage are safe and uninjured but had been taken to hospital.
Neighbours said they heard several loud bangs and saw children being carried out the house.
A neighbour told NZME she heard up to 11 loud bangs which she described as "gunshots" about 3.30pm.
"Bullets were going through the roof."
Smoke could be seen outside the house.
Moments after the bangs, neighbours watched as police dressed in full black tactical gear carried the two children out of the house.
McGregor said police are working to support the family.
"This was an experience nobody should have to go through and all involved will need ongoing care and support as they come to terms with today's events."
He said police staff have also been left shaken by this shooting.
"We don't come to work and do these things, we want to keep our community safe."
"This is something we ask alot of the situations like this. I am satisfied they did the right thing."
He said the officers would be on a mandatory 10-day stand down period.
The IPCA have been notified of the shooting. A police Critical Incident Investigation is also under way and the man's death will be referred to the Coroner.
As part of an ongoing scene examination, cordons will remain in place on Oriana Crescent, however residents of the street are free to come and go.
"We would like to thank residents for their cooperation and assistance today."
A St John Ambulance spokesperson said two people with minor injuries have been taken to Tauranga Hospital.
Neighbours said they were not aware of a disturbance overnight but woke today to find police officers in the street.
One, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said he could hear the police talking in an upstairs room of the house next to him.
He said he could hear arguing at about 1am but then it all went quiet.
The man got up to go fishing at about 4.30am and saw the police cars had blocked the entrance to his street.
He said he had lived on the street for the last six years and said he had "never seen anything like it".
"It is normally a pretty quiet street."