Arrest made after person seen acting suspiciously at Whenuapai Air Base

4:51 pm on 16 April 2021

A person has been arrested and the Defence Force bomb squad is arriving after a person was seen acting suspiciously around the Whenuapai Air Base in north-west Auckland.

Whenuapai Air Base - RNZAF Base Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Whenuapai School, a primary, and Whenuapai Kindergarten were in lockdown with students at one point told to shelter under their desks.

Parents were unable to pick up their children from the schools but the police and Defence Force escorted them to a nearby pickup area.

All roads are now open and the children have been sent home.

Police were told about 1pm of a person "acting suspiciously" near the entrance of the Whenuapai Air Base, the Defence Force's largest operational air base.

Police said someone has been taken into custody without incident and is being spoken to by police.

Cordons have been set up around this person's car. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team - colloquially the bomb squad - have been called in.

A message on the Whenuapai School website as of 3:20pm said: "Students are currently being escorted... by Base personnel. They will be lined up with their classroom teacher and you will be able to collect them from there. Roads remain closed... No students will be released without a parent signing them out with their teacher."

Earlier both the school and kindergarten declined to comment and directed enquiries to police and the Defence Force.

One parent told RNZ they had not been told the reason for the lockdown, and he was slightly nervous about how close the schools were to the issue.

"It's always the unknown that's always the worry right, if we had a bit more information and I know there's some things that they probably can't say then it'd be a lot easier to sit tight."