A Te Puke man was last night in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit after being hit by a car in Papamoa.
The 25-year-old was rushed to Tauranga Hospital by ambulance and airlifted to Waikato by the Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter soon after.
Police Sergeant Nigel Ramsden said the man had walked to the middle of Papamoa Beach Rd when he was run down just east of Allan Place about 5.45am yesterday.
"He just wandered into the middle of the road. I don't know why."
The driver of the Hyundai four-wheel-drive involved in the collision called for an ambulance and was talking to police, Mr Ramsden said.
Emergency services were not initially able to identify the man and he was estimated to be between the age of 17 and 22.
Further inquiries allowed police to confirm he had been identified and his family notified about 10.30am.
Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said the man sustained serious head, chest and pelvic injuries. It was too early to determine how the collision took place as witnesses were still being spoken to.
The driver of the vehicle had been tested for alcohol and speed did not appear to have been a factor, he said.
Residents near the scene of the incident did not hear anything and only realised what had happened when they woke up to find police had blocked the Tauranga-bound lane outside their houses.
One resident reported hearing people arguing in the early hours of the morning but was unaware of any incident.
A neighbour said she woke to her phone ringing about 6am and noticed police lights flashing through her window. The road was always busy but drivers were generally well behaved, she said.
"You do put your foot down a bit but there are enough signs along there that say 60."