Two people are "fighting for their lives" after a car crashed into a tree in south Auckland this morning, police say.
The pair were critically injured when the white Subaru Legacy hurtled into the tree at speed on Helvetia Rd, Pukekohe, at around 4.15am.
The occupants, aged 24 and 18, were rushed to Middlemore Hospital in critical conditions.
The driver, who it is believed was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, was thrown from the car, while the passenger was rescued from the back seat, police said.
The car was reportedly stolen for the registered owner's address overnight, Inspector Richard Wilkie, Counties Manukau Police road policing manager, said.
Speed is thought to be a factor in the crash, he said, and blood tests had been taken to determine if alcohol also played a part.
"It's highly disappointing to see a crash like this," Mr Wilkie said.
"We now have two young people in hospital fighting for their lives following a crash that should never have happened."
Initial investigations indicate the driver failed to negotiate a bend at speed, which is signposted with a recommended safe speed of 35km/h, he said.
It is the same location of another serious crash which occurred last year.
Neither the driver or the passenger was appropriately licensed to be driving at the time of the crash, Mr Wilkie said.
"Counties Manukau Police has a strong focus on improving road safety, while also reducing vehicle crime and youth crime.
"This crash is a sobering reminder of how poor decision-making can have potentially devastating consequences, and police will be continuing to target all three of these areas to keep our communities safe."