The main store in Auckland was evacuated because the man held a pregnant woman hostage with a knife on her neck.
The police have successfully mitigated the situation by arresting a man about 10 hours, an hour and a half after the incident unfolded.
A man wearing a baseball cap held a knife to a woman – who witnesses she was pregnant – at Burger King inside the Manukau Westfield Food Court.
Silvermoon's sales manager Aarika Parmar described the horrific scene that unfolded at 8.30 on Friday morning.
The man ran to the end of the dining room and grabbed her neck, holding a knife against her, she said.
The security guard looked for Parmar and said, "You have to move, you have to get out."
"She has a knife, she has a knife, which is all (another witness)."
People were frozen as they watched for fear, she said.
"Everyone wanted to know what was going on."
Parmar said the man had taken the woman out with him and security followed.
Video from the scene shows police officers trying to act with this man.
He was wearing a red toe and saw his right arm waving and the knife at the police.
The police helicopter was hovering over the business center for the last half hour, said the resident.
Another witness said he was about to start working when she and other employees and customers were called to evacuate.
A 26-year-old man said the incident had started around 8:40 am, but "it was not a problem until today."
She knew there was something wrong with seeing a policeman running into the corner of the dining room, and so she went to look closer and began to make a short video.
The video shows a man who holds the knife to the woman's throat. The witness said she understood that the woman was pregnant and unknown to the armed man.
The female daughter, believing she was about 12 years old, was left out to watch the event unfold.
She said the audience was apologizing for the woman after being freed and leaving the building for about 10 hours.
"She seemed to be really upset, wept, and she was really scared."
When she started filming, she said she thought the guy was "just another idiot."
But then, as the incident rose and police arrived with weapons, she knew it was more serious.
"Then I thought OMG hoped nothing would happen."
Mariam Waled, a customer service representative for Westfield Mall, said she spoke to the victim's daughter and grew up from Christchurch.
Her daughter said her mother was pregnant.
"He's holding a knife and telling security guards to avoid," Waled said.
"Then she saw the lady and the knife on her neck."
Waled said it was a random attack.
The shopping center is now reopened and people return to work.
The witness said the man was holding the knife on the neck of a woman for about an hour and a half.
The police issued a statement at 10 o'clock that the man was in custody and spoke
The woman was unhurt, they said.
"Police investigations continue the incident and we will continue to provide
information when we are able to do so. "