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Russell Lolesio, 26, was taken into custody outside a block of shops in Glen Eden about 2pm.
Several streets in the area were closed off while police made an "armed approach" to a car he was in.
"He was wanted for various offences and has been outstanding since November 2013," a police spokeswoman said.
Lolesio was alleged to have been involved in violent incidents where he threatened to use violence against police, she said.
A member of the public near the Glen Eden shops at the time of the arrest said he saw at least three police cars "zooming" past him on Great North Rd.
When he got closer to the block of shops, he saw two men on their knees in handcuffs, one with a police rifle being pointed at him.
"It was on the corner of West Coast Rd and Captain Scott Rd, probably outside the ASB bank.
"I saw a policeman with a rifle pointing at one of the guys."
The road had been closed off from Captain Scott Rd, up to Glenview Rd, he said.
A police helicopter was also flying over the area.
The onlooker said traffic was being diverted away from the area.
Nobody looked hurt, he said.
Police said the man with Lolesio was detained while his identity was being confirmed. This man was assisting police with inquiries and would be released without charge, the spokeswoman said.