The NZTA has warned motorists to expect "long delays" after a three-car pileup on the Southern Motorway in Auckland.

Two southbound lanes are blocked in a section of the motorway between the East Tamaki Rd onramp and the Te Irirangi Drive offramp.

St John ambulance services are on the scene. One patient had serious injuries while all others had moderate or minor injuries, a St John spokeswoman said.

Police were first called to the nose-to-tail at 6.15pm, a spokeswoman said.

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"It sounds like one car came to a sudden stop and others just piled up behind," she said.

One man had called in saying he had a cut lip, and another woman involved in the crash said "everything hurts".

Meanwhile a car fire was caused by a three-car crash heading north, the spokeswoman said. Two police cars were in attendance, with one caller saying there was a fire visible under one of the cars.

The NZTA said the car was blocking the right-hand lane on the Northern Motorway heading north near St Mary's Bay, just before the Harbour Bridge.