A Hamilton mall will be shut for at least the next four hours after suspected homemade bombs were discovered, police say.
Hamilton locals have described hearing a loud "bang" early this morning before the bomb disposal unit arrived at Chartwell shopping centre, Herald reporter Belinda Feek said.
Police have also extended their cordons around the site, moving everybody out a street further and closing down access to Lyndon Court, she said.
A stretch of Comries Rd between Hukanui and Lyndon Crt is now closed, she added.
Stride Property, which owns the mall, said the centre had been evacuated and that management are cooperating with police.
"Chartwell Shopping Centre treats the safety of its retailers, customers and the public as the upmost priority and will await further notice from the police regarding reopening the Centre," Stride said in a statement this morning.
Feek, who is at the scene, said a City safety officer is advising the public they can't go through and that there are several police officers and patrol cars at the scene.
The heaviest police presence appears to be along a stretch of Lynden Court, she said.
Breanna Parker-Taylor, who lives across the road from the mall, said her flatmate heard a "bang" about 5am today.
She said she went across the road to ask what happened, as police were at the scene, but they told her to wait for it to come out in the media.
Staff at Countdown, which has a supermarket in the mall, had been told they won't be able to get back to work for about two hours, a resident said.
Other staff from the mall are also being sent home for two to three hours as the bomb squad deals with the devices.
Staff had also heard of bombs, with them being described as "live" and "homemade".
Nishant Taurian, an employee at the Caltex Service station across the road, said it was all very quiet at the start of his shift.
"Then, all of a sudden, at around 6.15 or 6.20, I see six police cars that pulled over at the Chartwell mall.
"They shut down the exit at the gas station."
Hukanui Primary School, which is located across the road from the shopping centre, has posted an advisory on its Facebook page telling parents about the incident.
"This may affect parking, so please be patient when dropping your children to school this morning.
"Police have informed us that this has no impact on us here at Hukanui School."
The NZ Defence Force's explosive ordnance disposal team has been advised.