Police swap vehicles with armed suspect in Ohakune standoff

Police jumped into the vehicle they'd pulled over and gave chase. Photo credit: Getty

An armed man is on the run after swapping vehicles with police during a standoff in Ohakune on Saturday night.

Officers stopped a vehicle to administer a breath test on the driver at 10:20pm on Wye Street. As they were talking to the driver, a man in the back seat got out and pointed a gun at them. 

He and a female passenger then got into a patrol car and fled - but soon crashed into a gatepost, continuing their escape on foot.

Police jumped into the vehicle they'd pulled over and gave chase, but failed to locate them. The patrol car sustained minor damage, but nothing was taken.

The suspect is believed to be 33-year-old Marton man Tama Michael Rawhiti, and police say he should not be approached if seen.

Tama Rawhiti.
Tama Rawhiti. Photo credit: Police/supplied

"Our staff acted with considerable courage in a very challenging situation," said Whanganui area commander Insp Nigel Allan.

"The offender's behaviour last night indicates he poses a significant risk and we are working hard to locate him and bring him safely into custody.

"We want to hear from anyone who may have information as to his whereabouts or any other information that may assist us in achieving his safe arrest."

Rawhiti already had a parole recall warrant out for his arrest, and has links to Marton, Whanganui and Hawera.

Police say anyone who sees him should call 111.