Pupils and staff at Kawerau Kura Kaupapa Māori school Te Whata Tau o Putauaki were told to stay indoors this afternoon while armed police surrounded a nearby house.
The police action is believed to be in response to the shooting of two men earlier this morning in the small township.
Despite smoke bombs being let off in a nearby property to the school, police still reassured them they were safe.
Two men, aged 38 and 48, who police believe were the targets of this morning's gunfire, were airlifted to Waikato Hospital with critical injuries to the chest and abdomen.
Police have been given leads by locals which sent them to search a Valley Rd property not far from the shooting scene, and after 1pm at a Galway St house, police cased the area for hours with guns and in the end, let smoke bombs off in a house.
Police can't say exactly how many were involved in this morning's shooting and no one has been arrested, but they are looking for a dark sedan which was seen leaving the scene immediately after the gun shots.
While police hunt down the gunman, Kawerau residents will still be wary.