Two gunmen still on the run after shooting at police officer in Northland

Two gunmen remain at large after a police officer was shot at in Northland on Tuesday.

A car pulled in front of a police vehicle and stopped in the middle of the road on State Highway 11 near the Puketona Junction with State Highway 10 at around 4:13am.

Before the officer could get out of the patrol car, two men with firearms got out of the other car. The police officer retreated but one shot was fired at the police car and damaged the windscreen. The officer wasn't harmed.

The incident has shocked the Northland community.

"My concern is the police officer was alone - they should all be riding two-up," Bay of Islands Country Lodge Motel owner Ed Lyman said.

"I feel for the cop, they must be terrified," one local said.

Police is still piecing together a series of events in the area and how they could be connected.

It believes the shooting could be linked to a kidnapping that occurred hours earlier near Waipapa. A vehicle of interest was also found set alight on the side of a road at 4:50am - less than an hour after the officer was shot at.

The Armed Offenders Squad was later called to the Matauri Bay area as a precaution.

The Police Association renewed its calls for officers to be routinely armed, but Far North locals aren't so sure.

"I don't think they need to be armed, it just promotes the bad guys arming themselves," Lyman said.

"Police officers are just doing their job, but I don't know whether arming police is going to make any difference," another local said.

The officer that was shot at is currently resting at home.