Two men are still at large after a police officer was shot at this morning, and police now think it may be linked to a kidnapping.
The shooting unfolded on a stretch of State Highway 11 inland from Waitangi and south of Kerikeri, about 4.13am.
A police car was driving between rolling hills and farms, near an intersection with State Highway 10 called Puketona Junction, when a car pulled out in front and stopped.
Two men in masks got out holding guns and one shot was fired, damaging the police car's windscreen and leaving the officer uninjured, but shaken.
She is receiving support from the Police Association, vice-president Marcia Murray described the incident as an "unacceptable and extremely serious incident".
"It's tough for the member involved, the member's family and all the members across New Zealand," she said.
"Police are going to work every day to protect our communities. And this has happened as part of their every day work. It's just not acceptable."
In the hours that followed, nearby residents described waking to the noise of a tow truck removing the damaged police car, while other police cars raced along the highway with sirens blaring.
Buck Lane drove by the scene shortly after 6am and saw armed officers.
"That was quite ominous. We could see there was something very untoward going on. All in all they were just conducting their investigation. They had forensics show up afterwards and they were picking up small items off the road and marking them with dye marker."
Police said that in a separate incident about 8am, a man sought help in Matauri Bay after being kidnapped near Kerikeri.
They say a grey Nissan Skyline car was involved in the kidnapping, and it was set alight about 4.50am about 20km inland from the shooting scene.
Police are now trying to work out if it is the same "silver or grey" car that stopped the officer on State Highway 11, and if the two incidents are connected.
With the shooting offenders are still at large, Far North mayor John Carter said the community was on edge.
He said it was "disappointing", "unwanted" and "unneeded".
"There's some anger and there's some concern, and in a way it reflects the social issues we have here. That's why we're all working together to see what we can do to address this particular incident but also make sure that as we move forward, these things don't continue to reoccur," he said.
In July, officer Matthew Hunt was shot and killed on the job in Auckland.
In the first week of August, there were two more cases of guns being pointed at officers in Auckland and one incident in which a gun was fired at police out of a car window.
Marcia Murray said there was strong support in the police community for officers to be routinely armed.
She said the incident this morning was an unwelcome reminder of the proliferation of firearms in criminal hands.
"The gun buyback took 60,000 of our most dangerous weapons off the streets but there's still much work to do in this space," she said.
Northland Investigations Manager, Detective Inspector Dene Begbie said the Far North community could be reassured the police were doing everything possible to resolve both incidents "and hold the people responsible to account."
"We've got a really good team of investigators that are working hard to try and identify what's happened, in both events, and find the people responsible."
He said a number of offenders were involved in the kidnapping, and the police were hoping to have more information about them soon.
Police want to hear from anyone with information - or anyone who has seen a Nissan Skyline with the registration MWD839.
They can contact Kerikeri Police on 105, or provide information anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.