A man is "very unlikely" to have survived a stand-off at a rural New Zealand property after two rental inspectors were shot dead and the house went up in flames.
A major police operation began late on Wednesday morning near Whangarei in the North Island after officers found the women dead at the property.
The women were accompanied by a man during the routine inspection. He was also shot and was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
Superintendent Russell Le Prou says police tried to negotiate with the gunman but there was no response.
Tear gas was used late in the afternoon and the man fired several shots at police, who fired a number of shots in return.
Supt Le Prou says the house caught fire soon after and became fully engulfed.
"The status of the offender is currently unknown," he said.
"However, we believe it is very unlikely that he has survived."
Police and firefighters remained at the scene but said they would not enter the property until it was safe to do so.
Supt Le Prou said the tenant was known to police.