24 Nov 2019

Man who threatened child with machete shot by police in Tauranga

7:37 pm on 24 November 2019

Police say they had no option than to shoot a man dead, after a lengthy hostage drama in Tauranga today.

The Tauranga property where police shot a man they say had threatened a woman and child with a machete today.

The Tauranga property where police shot a man they say had threatened a woman and child with a machete today. Photo: RNZ

Police say they were initially called to the Oriana Crescent property at about 12.25am, after a man threatened his partner with a knife.

The woman escaped to a neighbour's house and phoned police, but three children aged four, six and 11 remained in the house.

When police entered the house, they found the man holding a large machete to the throat of one of the children, said Bay of Plenty District Commander Andy McGregor.

The man retreated into a wardrobe with the threatened child and a second child.

Police withdrew immediately and were able to help the third child escape, Mr McGregor said.

The Police Negotiation Team and Armed Offenders Squad remained on the site to try and safely end the situation, he said.

However, police said the man only intermittently responded to attempts to communicate with him.

Concerns for the two children remaining in the house grew as the day went on.

"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," Mr McGregor said.

Just after 3pm, police entered the property, where they were confronted by the man. He was shot by police and pronounced dead at the scene.

The two children who had been kept hostage are safe and uninjured.

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," Mr McGregor said.

"Our staff have also been left shaken by this incident."

The shooting was necessary given children's lives were at risk, he said.

"If you think of the situation, where an offender has got a knife to the chest of a child and he has been behaving irrationally right throughout the day - he has already threatened a woman, who had to leave the house, with a knife," Mr McGregor said.

"It's sad but there was no other option - we had to get those kids out of that house safely."

In a statement this evening, Police Minister Stuart Nash offered his sympathies to the family but said he would not be commenting on the details of the incident.

"My sympathies and condolences go out to the man's family. I also recognise how frightening the last few hours have been for the woman and children caught up in this traumatic incident," Mr Nash said.

"They will receive support from Police to help them with the days, weeks and months ahead."

He said it was important to acknolwedge the faith put in police to make the best decisions in extreme situations and keep the public safe.

He also encouraged officers and police staff involved in today's incident to take on support and assistance offers available to them.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified and a Critical Incident Investigation is under way.

The man's death will also be referred to the Coroner.

The scene is being examined and Oriana Crescent is cordoned off, with resident access only.