New Zealand police have shot a 33-year-old man after he had been taken into custody.

The man had been taken into custody and was lying on the ground when it appears a police firearm was accidentally discharged, Acting Assistant Commissioner Investigations Glenn Dunbier said.

"This is a very serious event that police will be looking into thoroughly."

The man was taken to Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital, where a spokeswoman said his condition was critical.

Police were called to a house in Karamu Road, Hastings, around 5pm (1500 AEST) after concerns about the behaviour of the man, who had pointed a firearm at his mother two days ago.

Police and the Independent Police Complaints Authority are investigating.

"Our thoughts are with the man and his family at this time and we will be liaising closely with them," Mr Dunbier said.

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