A man has been arrested following a violent incident that left a good Samaritan in hospital.

Police had been hunting a hitch-hiker following an aggravated robbery at Whakaki, on State Highway 2 near Wairoa.

An injured motorist had been found on the side of the road just before 11pm on Sunday night.

Detective Sergeant Daniel Kirk said today a 46-year-old Tauranga man had been arrested in Hastings in relation to the assault of a man, and theft of his car.

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The arrested man has been charged with aggravated robbery and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and will appear in the Hastings District Court tomorrow.

A vehicle has been recovered, Kirk said.

"I would like to personally thank the public who played a significant role in assisting police to identify and locate the alleged offender."

The injured man remains in Hawke's Bay Hospital and will require ongoing treatment for his injuries, Kirk said.