Police have reassured the public after a terrifying incident in which a young woman was allegedly abducted in central Auckland.

The woman told police she was forced into a dark silver or grey, medium-sized SUV about 1.50pm while walking on Haslett St, in Eden Terrace, just a few kilometres from downtown Auckland.

She jumped from the moving vehicle as it travelled along narrow residential Copeland St, a few hundred metres away, and was taken to Auckland City Hospital with moderate injuries. The woman was discharged last night.

Police believe the incident was sexually motivated and yesterday began a manhunt to find the alleged perpetrator. He had not been found last night.


Detective Senior Sergeant Glenn Baldwin, of Auckland, said he knew people would be alarmed.

"But I can reassure everyone that we are doing everything possible to find this person. We have a scene examination under way and officers are going door to door in the area."

The woman, in her mid-20s, told police she was grabbed after walking past a man standing next to a couple of parked cars.

She was grabbed from behind and dragged into the front seat, and a struggle took place as the man drove off, she told police.

Two people saw the vehicle, described as being similar to a RAV4 or Honda CRV, leave Copeland St at speed after the woman jumped to safety. It was last seen travelling towards Ian McKinnon Dr.

They went to the distressed woman's aid, and residents also came on to the street after hearing screams.

Film student Talor Ormsby was among them, and described seeing one man on his cellphone and another consoling the woman.

"She was crying, she was really upset and she had a bump on her head."

The incident was intense, Ormsby said.

"It's not something you expect, especially in this street. It's really quiet."

As the woman escaped, the vehicle's door struck the wing mirror of car parked outside Ormsby's home.

Police investigate the scene at Copeland St, Eden Terrace. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Police investigate the scene at Copeland St, Eden Terrace. Photo / Jason Oxenham

It was possible the alleged offender's car had damage on the left side, Baldwin said.

The man was described as being a Maori or Pacific Islander, aged in his 30s, of large build and about 1.84m tall.

He had tattoos on both arms and was wearing a red and white checked shirt, with a grey T-shirt underneath.

His vehicle was described as being very clean inside.

"This is a very clear description which will mean something to somebody ... we believe that this is a sexually motivated attack and we need public help to find this man and his car," Baldwin said.

Police were also contacting nearby businesses and residential addresses with security cameras.

Anyone in the area who had a CCTV camera and had not yet been contacted should call police immediately, Baldwin said.

They and anyone who has seen a man fitting the alleged offender's description, and in the vehicle believed involved, should call the Auckland City Crime squad on (09) 302 6557.

"I am also appealing to anyone who knows a man of this description to come forward to police.

"This is a very serious crime and we want to catch this man as soon as possible."

Tips can be made anonymously via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

Private messages can also be sent to the Auckland City Police Facebook page.