26 Nov 2019

Tauranga fatal police shooting: Ministry was supporting family

9:02 am on 26 November 2019

The family involved in a fatal police shooting in Tauranga were getting support from the Ministry of Education before the tragic events unfolded, a local school says.

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 dead. Photo: RNZ

On Sunday, a man was shot dead by police in a property on Oriana Crescent, Bellevue.

Police said they were initially called after the man threatened his partner with a knife. The woman then escaped but three children, aged four, six and 11 remained in the house.

The man was shot dead after being holed up in the house for 15 hours, armed with a machete and knife, and holding two of the children hostage.

Bellevue School's Trustees chairperson Maia Ririnui confirmed two of the children attend the school.

"The ministry [of education] have already had some support around the family before the incident. They're continuing to work with them," Mr Ririnui said.

"Obviously, the children are out of school at the moment. We have had the ministry offering support to the school to help work not only with the family involved, but also with our staff and other children that may be impacted," he said.

"It's a terrible thing that has happened around the neighbourhood of the school. Our thoughts go out to the family and we just want to wish them all the best they can to get over it. We'll do what we can to help our staff and children get through it."

Katrina Casey, deputy secretary of sector enablement and support for the Ministry of Education, said their thoughts were with the families "during this very difficult time".

"We've offered support to the school, and we'll be available for as long as our help is needed."

New Zealand Psychological Society president John Fitzgerald said the incident would have a strong impact on all of those involved, including police staff, the woman, relatives of the family, and especially the three children.

"It's likely to be a very traumatic experience for the children. For an extended period of time, they've been exposed to a very frightening situation. It will have a long-term impact on them."

Mr Fitzgerald said the children should be kept at places they were familiar with and stay with people they knew, and questions and uncertainties should be responded to when they arose.

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell has met with the family of the man in a show of support.

Mr Powell said he met with the man's sisters and a brother at the police station on Monday morning, and they were very upset.

"It's just tragic circumstances. I visited them to make sure that they know we cared and that we're deeply concerned for them and to make sure that they were doing well as could be, and to reinforce to them that we're here to support them in any way they need," he said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs