Police say a man they shot after he told an officer he had a firearm was not actually carrying a gun or grenade as claimed.
He was shot once in the torso just before midnight on Wednesday after officers stopped the car he was a passenger in near the township of Otane on State Highway 2 south of Hastings.
The man, 48, underwent surgery at Hawke's Bay hospital but was transferred to Christchurch Hospital for further treatment and remained in a critical condition on Thursday night.
Eastern districts commander Sam Hoyle said police had spent the whole day looking for the man who was wanted in relation to several serious incidents in central Hawke's Bay this week.
Inspector Hoyle said that, after police stopped the car at a checkpoint, the man approached their vehicle in an aggressive manner and told one of the officers that he had a gun.
Inspector Hoyle said after the officer backed off, the man ignored several warnings and was concealing something in his sweatshirt pocket.
The officer fired a single shot which hit the man in the torso. Officers then struggled to restrain the man, who told them he was carrying a grenade.
"There was no grenade, there was no gun. He had a couple of hand tools on him and a glass bottle which was in his pocket," Inspector Hoyle said.
"We won't know until the investigation's complete, or may never know, which of those items he was holding in his pocket when he was threatening the officers."
Inspector Hoyle said because the man could face serious charges, his name would not be made public
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been advised of the incident and an investigation will be held by senior police from outside the district.