Police are searching for a gunman after a man was shot in the face in Rotorua in an apparent case of road rage overnight.

The man, 32, was shot on Eruera St in the city centre about 9.45pm, after the driver of a white station wagon appeared to have been angered earlier by the victim’s driving.

The man driving the station wagon had turned the corner slowly into Fenton St from Amohau St, and the victim and his 17-year-old nephew followed him closely in their car.

“It would appear that the person driving the front vehicle may have got upset with the manner in which the second person was driving, ie. close to him, and that’s maybe been the catalyst for today’s event,” Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Loper said.

The victim parked in Eruera St, and was later approached by the driver of the station wagon.

During an argument, a firearm was produced and the victim assaulted, then shot.

“He was shot in the face, and he was very lucky his injuries are not a lot more serious,” Loper said.

The victim was treated in hospital and discharged early on Friday morning.

His nephew was shocked but unhurt.

The area was cordoned off overnight, and police spent the night talking to witnesses.

Police said they were seeking the white station wagon, and the gunman, described only as a “large man”.