A man police believe is responsible for the unprovoked stabbing of an elderly man in a Remuera park last week has been identified.

Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Newman, of Auckland, said the man is in the custody of health authorities.

A 72-year-old man escaped serious injury when he was stabbed in the neck while playing with his grandchildren at Little Rangitoto Reserve on Wednesday last week.

Police alleged a young man tried to engage the pensioner in conversation and lure him away from his family, and attacked after he was ignored. The man's injuries were minor.

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Newman said this afternoon he knew the incident had frightened the community.

"Police want to reassure the community that although no charges have yet been laid, the [alleged] offender has been identified and is currently in the custody of health authorities.

"We intend to charge the man and are working closely with other Government agencies in this regard.

"He is not on the streets and because of this we do not believe the alleged offender presents any ongoing or further risk to the Remuera community at this time."

Police were not looking for anyone else.