A "chance meeting on a public street" left a Paraparaumu man with 200 stitches after a vicious knife attack, a police officer says.

The 20-year-old man suffered a large cut to his side from a craft knife or similar weapon about midnight on Saturday.

A 32-year-old man has been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, but officer Martin Todd said the defendant and the victim did not know each other, though they both live in the Paraparaumu area.

"They didn't know each other and it was a chance meeting on a public street," Todd said.

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He could not comment on whether there was an altercation between the men before the knife was produced, as the matter is now before the courts.

The attack happened in Mazengarb Rd.

Police appealed for help from the public as they hunted for the weapon.

Anyone who has found a knife around Mazengarb Rd, Te Atiawa Park, the Manly St beachfront or Paraparaumu golf course is urged to contact their local police station.