Grenades thrown into Whangarei house

An elderly Whangarei resident hunkered down in her lounge chair, locking the windows and doors, as police armed with guns surrounded a neighbouring house after an alleged family violence incident sparked a major police callout.

The 88-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said she had been watching television when she glanced out the window and saw men dressed in black with guns at her letterbox on Mahana Place, Raumanga, yesterday.

Police were alerted just after midday to an incident where there were concerns for a female and a possibility of a man with firearms at the house. The neighbour said she had lived in the street for a long time and had learned to keep her head down during such action.

"I could hear the police talking on a loudspeaker telling them to come out of the house but I turned up the television and just stayed in my chair and didn't move," she said.

About 25 Whangarei police staff were involved including about nine members of the armed offenders' squad and a police dog.

Cordons were put in place at the back of Horahora Primary School.

Staff and students at the school were told to stay inside while the incident was unfolding.

Whangarei police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett confirmed four stun grenades were thrown into the house just after 2pm. Following the loud bangs, that echoed around nearby streets, a dog ran off the property.

An ambulance arrived at a cordon as a precaution but left five minutes later.

Mrs Kennett said when police searched the house they did not find the couple and late yesterday officers were trying to track the pair down.

Horahora Primary School principal Pat Newman said police were quick to let staff know about the incident and the school went into lockdown.

"We have procedures we follow and they were followed," Mr Newman said.

"All the kids were inside, we pulled the curtains so no one could see in. They were doing their work, oblivious to what was going on outside."

He was concerned some parents ignored school warnings and collected their children from class.

A statement released by police this morning said a 22-year-old woman and a 48-year-old man were found today in Whangarei and had been charged with possessing equipment to cultivate cannabis.

The equipment was located at the Mahana Place address.

No charges have been laid in relation to the alleged family violence incident.

The pair are believed to be appearing in court tomorrow.

- By Kristin Edge of the Northern Advocate

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