A small Northland township is "in great shock" after a man shot a police dog before being fired at himself by officers on Tuesday morning.
The authorities were called to the settlement of Tangowahine, north-east of Dargaville, at about 9:17am after a member of the public called to report a "suspicious person" on Tangowahine Valley Rd.
Northland District Commander Tony Hill says the town is an area with "very limited communication", so police are still unsure what occurred.
However they are able to confirm that a police dog was shot, and that the man who fired at it had been shot in response by officers.
"Both are currently being airlifted separately to receive medical and veterinary assistance," a press release reads. "We are in the very early stages of establishing what exactly has happened but an update will be provided as soon as one becomes available."
Sam Murtagh from the Northland Emergency Services Trust confirmed to Newshub it is transporting the injured police dog to Auckland, with Westpac flying the alleged offender.
St John says the injured man was being treated at Dargaville Hospital before being airlifted to Auckland.
Both he and the dog are in a critical condition.
Dr Jason Smith, Mayor of Kaipara District Council, said the very close-knit community of Tangowahine is "in great shock and extremely concerned" about an incident of this kind occurring in their community.
"Nothing like this has happened before, and I'm expecting nothing like this will happen here again," he told Newshub.
"These are rural people. They know their neighbours and are connected with each other.
"The key message to the community is that police are not seeking anyone in relation to this - the matter appears to be closed."
Meanwhile Tangowahine School principal Huw Wainwright told Newshub he's received a phone call from police, but was told there was no reason to inform students at this point.
Commander Hill will speak to media at a press conference from Whangarei Police Station at 3:30pm on Tuesday.