Police swarm Lower Hutt, nearby schools in lockdown

Cordons are in place on High Street and residents in the area have been asked to stay inside or avoid the area.
Cordons are in place on High Street and residents in the area have been asked to stay inside or avoid the area. Photo credit: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Residents have heard loud sirens and yelling, and watched armed officers chase a man down the road during a police stand-off in Taitā.

A school in Taitā has been locked down as a precaution with armed police putting up a cordon around a house.

Police negotiators are speaking with a man at a Lower Hutt home and a cordon is in place on High Street just past the Avalon shops and Avalon Intermediate School is in lockdown as a precaution.

The Armed Offenders Squad is on scene and the Police Negotiation Team were speaking with the man.

No threats have been made against schools.

Rhys Peneha came to pick up his friend's child from a school in Taitā after hearing it was put into lockdown.

"We heard sirens this morning and then heard all the schools were on lockdown, so we came to pick up her son. Then seen all the cops with guns so we thought we need to get here. And then the police officer told us someone's been agitated, running round with a gun or something."

He said he has a lot of friends whose children go to schools affected by the police operation so it had been a scary morning.

Local YG Tray said he saw police run after a man outside his house.

"We seen the bro jump the fence and then the bro put his hands up like, you know, he wasn't going anywhere, like he was waving a white flag. But then he ended up sprinting down that driveway all the way down to the end so we thought he was going to pop outside the other way but they (the police) already blocked that out."

Tray said the man was not holding a weapon when he saw him.

Taitā resident Josh Bryant said police have told him not to leave his home until the stand-off is over.

"I'm not allowed to leave until all of this is stopped. I've got work to do, so I had to stay home. I took the day off... All I've been told is that it's going to take a while."

He said the police presence in the suburb has been huge.

A helicopter could this morning be heard flying overhead in Avalon.

Businesses near the cordon earlier said police had not explained what was happening but officers were on the road holding guns.

One shop worker said traffic was being turned around and rerouted to avoid the scene.

Police said the situation was currently controlled.

Schools which earlier confirmed they were in lockdown were Avalon Intermediate School, Naenae College and Naenae Intermediate.

The lockdowns have since been lifted.