A Whangarei dad said human instincts kicked in when he delivered his son at the side of the road.

Ariana Gordon and Chris McConochie were making the dash to Whangarei Hospital from their Otaika Valley Rd home early on Thursday morning when Ms Gordon realised they wouldn't make it.

The 24-year-old said she first got up about 3.30am and felt like she was in labour but "it wasn't that bad at that point".

At 5.15am she rang her mum and her midwife and told them she thought she was in labour.

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"By 5.30am we were stressing out, ringing both of our sisters and both our parents."

After organising a babysitter and Ms Gordon experiencing contractions, the couple piled into their car and left. They got a couple of minutes down the road to Stunnell Rd when Ms Gordon told Mr McConochie to stop.

Chris McConochie cuts the umbilical cord of his son Kasey, after partner Ariana Gordon gave birth in the couple's car. Photo/Supplied
Chris McConochie cuts the umbilical cord of his son Kasey, after partner Ariana Gordon gave birth in the couple's car. Photo/Supplied

"And I was like, 'Oh here we go'," Mr McConochie said.

The 22-year-old said he began to clear the stuff off the back seat but they didn't have enough time to get Ms Gordon onto it.

Mr McConochie said Ms Gordon rushed him around the front and he said the baby was "already practically half out".

"So it was like 'Oh, I have to catch him'."

After "catching" his son, named Kasey, he handed him to Ms Gordon and rushed to grab some blankets and call an ambulance.

Shortly after the couple's family members all turned up on the side of the road, and were greeted with the news Kasey had been born.

Once the ambulance arrived Mr McConochie cut the umbilical cord with a scalpel.

Mr McConochie, who works in fumigation at Northport and had previously worked in forestry, said that, apart from being there when the couple's 1-year-old son was born, he had no knowledge of how to deliver a baby.

"I guess human instincts just kicked in."

He didn't think much of it at the time but later in the afternoon it really hit him that he had delivered a baby.

"It made the experience of having a child that much better."

Ms Gordon has three older sons and said her previous labour times had been about four hours, eight hours and two hours.

"With my other kids it took a while to get to the pushing part." This time around, she didn't have to push.

"We had this big plan for everybody to be there - aunties and grandparents - none of us made it to the hospital."

Mum and baby were taken to hospital to be checked out but were released later in the day.

Ms Gordon said apart from being cold due to being born outside, Kasey was in good health.