A young man was spotted walking on Auckland's Southern Motorway before appearing to take a nap close to the road early yesterday.

Emiel Logan, of Counties Manakau police, said police received several calls from concerned motorists on the stretch of highway near Ramarama about 6am yesterday.

One motorist, who contacted the Herald, said he thought the man was dead when he saw him lying about 2km from an on-ramp.

"Upon spotting his lifeless-looking body, I stopped and called emergency services.

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"It took about half an hour for a cop to arrive, who walked over, tapped his leg to try to wake him, was unsuccessful, bent over, grabbed his ear with a finger and twisted it quickly, which woke him up really fast."

The motorist believed the man was intoxicated but police said there was no evidence of this.

The man, who was hoping to hitch-hike to Coromandel, was fined $250 for walking on the motorway and dropped off at a safe location to hitch-hike.