Waikato Police are stressing the necessity for safe use of firearms after an unlicensed man shot himself in the leg while trying to hide a gun from officers on Friday night.
Sergeant Jim Corbett of the Thames Strategic Traffic Unit said officers were called to reports of shots being fired on a farm bordering bush at Waitekauri, near Waikino about 9.40pm.
"The landowners advised no-one had permission to be shooting on their land and Police converged on the area which is accessed via Waikino, between Paeroa and Waihi.
"About an hour after the initial report of shots being fired a car approached a Police checkpoint on Golden Cross Rd, as the vehicle came to a stop the front seat passenger got out of the car and appears to have shot himself in the leg as he went to get rid of a .22cal pistol he had concealed down the front of his pants."
Mr Corbett said despite his injury the man was still able to throw the firearm into scrub.
"The man was treated for his wound by Police at the scene before being taken to Waikato Hospital, however we understand the 35-year-old discharged himself with the projectile still embedded in his leg but he is expected to return there today to have it removed.
"Police will be interviewing the man in relation to the incident, following his treatment, in relation to firearms charges. In the meantime there are a number of lessons that can be learned by everyone from this incident."
In addition to providing legislative guidelines on the owning of firearms the licensing process also guides people through basic safety steps, several of which were ignored on Friday.
"We've already mentioned the man didn't have the landowner's authority to be shooting on the property, it is also unlawful to shoot in a state forest, forest park or national park during the hours of darkness.
"It is also unlawful to be using a firearm without a license or to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle. Given the occupants of the vehicle approached a Police checkpoint with a loaded firearm this incident could have had far more tragic circumstances," said Mr Corbett.
Anyone wanting further information on firearms safety is advised to contact the Waikato Police District's Firearms Officer on 07 858 6200 or their local New Zealand Mountain Safety Council branch or local gun club.