Police are asking for help in locating a man who escaped from court this afternoon.
Mana Justin Tangitutu had been sentenced to four months' imprisonment for a family violence assault on a female.
Tangitutu, 27 was placed in a Whakatane District Court cell by officers, but escaped.
The escape was discovered a few minutes later, at approximately 5.15pm.
Inspector Sandra Venables says police want to hear from anyone who has seen him.
"There will be a full investigation into how Mr Tangitutu was able to leave the cell and court building and a review of court escort processes, but our priority at this stage is locating him.
"I appeal to anyone who sees him or knows of his location to contact us immediately. It is of course possible that he will seek refuge with family or friends and I need to make it clear that anyone found to be assisting him in evading police could also face prosecution."
Tangitutu is described as Maori, approximately 180 centimetres tall and has a distinctive full facial tattoo with the word 'Mongrel' above his upper lip.
He has links to the Gisborne area, Whakatane, Tauranga and the North Shore.
Anyone else who has knowledge of where he is should contact the Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.