A car fleeing police careered through an intersection at up to 120km/h before ploughing into an SUV and killing the speeding vehicle's driver.
Police say several people in the SUV were ejected through a windscreen and it's a miracle no one else was killed.
They named the dead man tonight at Eden Hoey, aged 32, originally from Northland.
A passenger in Hoey's car is now fighting for her life in hospital and police are yet to identify the woman.
The horrific crash happened at the intersection of Te Irirangi Drive and Cavendish Drive after police tried to stop a black saloon car on Great South Rd about 10.30 last night.
The vehicle fled and a short police pursuit ensued, a police spokesman said.
It is understood the speeding car careered through the intersection at speeds of up to 120km/h and bounced off a parked vehicle, smashing into an SUV.
The SUV's four occupants were not wearing seatbelts and were ejected through the vehicles back windscreen, suffering serious injuries.
Counties Manukau area commander Inspector Dave Glossop said it was a "miracle" they were not killed or seriously maimed in the crash.
"I have seen the incident on camera and it's very disturbing to see ... people weren't wearing seatbelts and they were actually ejected out the back window of the vehicle," he said.
"[They were] very lucky ... It is a real lesson of why to wear a seat belt, but the message that these things happen in a split second ... [a life] was lost and it's just needless."
He added that the fleeing driver's actions were reckless.
"This whole attitude of failing to stop for police needs to end," Inspector Dave Glossop, the area commander, says.
"Whatever that person has done is not more important than the community's lives, or their own life."
A police investigation into the matter was ongoing and the Independent Police Conduct Authority had been notified.
In an earlier statement, police said the male driver of the fleeing vehicle died in the crash. Two female passengers in the car both suffered serious injuries. One is in a critical condition in Middlemore Hospital's intensive care unit this morning and the other is stable.
Area commander Inspector Dave Glossop said the fleeing driver failed to stop at a red light and crashed into another car.
The woman in intensive care is yet to be identified. Police said she is Maori or Polynesian and has distinctive tattoos, including one on her right knee, a musical note on her left inside ankle and a large tattoo on her left forearm.
A Middlemore Hospital spokeswoman said five people were in hospital as a result of the crash. As well as the critically injured woman, three others are in a serious condition.
Eyewitnesses to the fatal crash have spoken of their shock.
Nearby residents told the Herald they heard a loud bang followed by sirens when the crash happened, within 1km of where police first tried to pull the car over.
""I didn't see the crash but I heard sirens and then a loud bang," one resident told the Herald this morning.
Witnesses to the crash posted about it on social media.
A woman shared images of the wreckage on Facebook, saying she had "never seen such a scary thing before".
"First ever serious car crash I have seen in personal throughout my whole life [sic]. But may the Lord be with those who suffered and the family of the loved one who passed ... during that's serious car accident [sic]."
Another woman posted that she was at the scene of the crash with her mother.
"Shocked to see the aftermath of a horrific accident and very sad that people were hurt."
No patrol cars were involved in the crash, a police spokesman said.
A Fire Service spokeswoman said three cars were involved in the collision and three people were trapped in one of the vehicles and had to be freed by firefighters.
An employee at the nearby Caltex said he saw a car speeding along Great South Rd, heading north.
An undercover police car was on the scene within 10 seconds, the employee, Dilpreet Singh, said.
"I heard the noise it was very loud. When it collided, there was a car, an undercover cop, heading to the north."
Agnes Morunga, who works at the nearby Carl's Jr fast food restaurant said several police cars were on the scene.
"We can see all the lights flashing."
The lights at the intersection went out after the crash, Morunga said.
Great South Road at the intersection with Cavendish Drive was closed overnight but has now reopened.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing and the Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified.