An Auckland man had a "grandstand view" of an unusual rescue mission which unfolded over the past few days.

Alan Green, of Piha, was attending a weekend workshop at the Blockhouse Bay boat club when he noticed a silver Rav4 submerged in the Manukau Harbour on Friday.

On Saturday he witnessed two more 4WDS - which it seemed had come to rescue the first stranded vehicle - get stuck in the mud.

"The tide came in and enveloped all three of them."

And although a group of about 10 people managed to pull one 4WD free, Green said the Ford Explorer was "completely stuffed - there was water pouring out".

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Photo / Doug Sherring
Photo / Doug Sherring

Yesterday the incoming Manukau Harbour tide was lapping at the undercarriages of up to five 4WD vehicles stuck in the muddy "car graveyard".

"It's one of the most delightful comedy of errors you could ever see. It's been hilarious," Green said.

"The original car has had four tides go through it and was completely submerged.

Around 5.30pm a Nissan Pajero was successful in pulling two of the vehicles out.

Green told the Herald 10 to 12 people had helped out with the rescue attempts over the weekend.

"Looks like they're all friends."

Photo / Doug Sherring
Photo / Doug Sherring

Earlier a local resident told the Herald tow trucks had tried in vain to move the vehicles.

A police spokeswoman said on Friday officers had checked there was no one in the car and then passed the matter on to the harbour master.

Later that evening a Herald reader saw two more vehicles 500m offshore and photographed them.

An Auckland Transport spokesman said on Saturday that the harbourmaster would assess the cars.
He said if the cars weren't stolen, it was up to their owners and insurance companies to have them removed.