Alleged West Coast shooter arrested

The man accused of shooting dead a West Coast woman on Sunday has been arrested after fleeing from police overnight.

Police say they found the suspect on Monday afternoon in a small town north of Hokitika.

They say he was known to police and gave himself up.

It comes after armed police surrounded a marae in a small town north of Hokitika earlier on Monday afternoon, searching for the gunman who reportedly shot and killed the mother-of-three yesterday.

The alleged shooter was reportedly on the run since yesterday, fleeing after 43-year-old Hayley Williams was shot to death at her house on Marsden Road near Greymouth shortly after 4pm. 

"I want to reassure our community and [the victim's] family that police have and will continue to do everything that we can to hold to account those people responsible for [her] death," West Coast Area Commander Mel Aitken says.

"We were getting calls today of potential sightings of a male [of interest] and it was one of those sightings that led us to locating him."

Police say a number of children were at home at the time of the incident and confirmed that Ms Williams children were among them.

A neighbour told Newshub they heard the shots fired yesterday afternoon. 

"We were just out in our garage and we heard this almighty bang," she said. 

"We thought nothing of it until we saw all the police in the area." 

She said she's known the victim for years. 

"She seemed to be outgoing... a mother with kids... we never had problems with her. 

"[We] never saw him but think we might have seen that car a few times but never took any notice of it 

"We were thinking, looking up in the bush last night, that he could be up there watching us... you just wouldn't know, would you?"