Six youths were arrested but let off with a warning after playing with BB guns, which sent an Auckland mall into lockdown on Sunday evening.
Armed police rushed to Glenfield Mall at about 8pm after a reports a person had what appeared to be a gun.
But police said in a statement that officers found a group of youths in an underground car park with three toy pellet guns.
The six young people were taken into custody but let them off with a warning, and the BB guns were recovered by officers, police said. Mall management made the decision to go into lockdown while the incident was dealt with.
Local councillor Richard Hills described the event as "a frightening situation for many in the community" - saying police did well to resolve the situation quickly.
Shanan Halbert, the MP for Northcote, also gave his thanks to the police on his official Facebook page.
"I am pleased that no one has been hurt but it is very frightening for the public Glenfield community. Thank you to our police for acting swiftly on this."
Many customers at the mall at the time of the incident reacted on social media to the scare.
"Everyone avoid Glenfield mall at all costs and all surrounding areas," one wrote on Facebook. "We've just left there as we were trying to enter we were informed by the mall security that there are gunman on the ground floor. Check on anyone that may have gone there!"
Another person said: "I just wanna give thanks to the amazing and obviously terrified security guard who was shaken up trying to keep calm as I was locked inside, scared for my kids and sister left outside in the car with no idea what was happening around them.
"Opening up the doors to let us back out took guts an [sic] I totally appreciate what you do and I'm so thankful the weapons were only BBguns. I hope you enjoy yourself a nice big hot chocolate at home with your family after work bro thank you!!!!!"