A South Auckland mum who rushed to help two children injured in a hit and run says she felt "extremely lucky" that her own kids were not hurt.

A 13-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, believed to be siblings, were hit by a vehicle on Artillery Dr in Papakura just after 5.30pm today. The driver fled the scene.

Papakura resident Debbie, who did not want her last name used, said the pair were hit on the footpath in an area where the neighbourhood kids, including her own children, usually played.

"That's what scared me the most, that it was around that particular part [of the street]."

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Debbie was cooking dinner for her six children when she heard a huge bang and tires screeching on Artillery Rd.

"Luckily all my children were inside because I was just about to cook dinner. But they all ran out there to see what happened," she said.

"I ran outside and that's when I saw all the damage."

At first, Debbie noticed a fence on the street had been hit by the car, which had also taken out the plants outside at a house across the road.

Not long after, she saw a boy limping and a young girl crying.

"She came over crying her eyes out, holding her arm and I was like 'oh my gosh she's been hit'. One of the other neighbours was on the phone to police," Debbie said.

The mother-of-six quickly realised that the two injured children lived a few doors down on Maadi Pl, which runs off Artillery Dr. She said they were siblings.

Debbie said there were a number of other children out on the street including a
7-year-old girl, who was "absolutely beside herself". She said it was lucky they were not hit as well.

Although Debbie did not see the hit and run, she was told by witnesses that the 10-year-old girl who was injured, pushed two younger children out of the way of the oncoming car.

Witnesses told her the car careened onto the footpath, hitting a fence and plants before it reached the kids.

"Then [the driver] reversed back and took off really, really quickly," Debbie said.

The incident was one of many that made for a tragic start to Labour Weekend.

One person was killed in a crash on State Highway 2, just outside Raupunga, near Wairoa this afternoon.

The crash happened half an hour before the official Labour Weekend holiday toll started at 4pm. It ends at 6am on Tuesday.

Down south, a 10-year-old boy was seriously injured, and three other people moderately, in a two-car crash just outside of Geraldine.

Emergency services were at the scene of the crash on Geraldine Fairlie Highway, State Highway 79, near the intersection with Mullvihill Rd, at 6pm.

A St John spokesman said the boy, a man and woman were taken to Dunedin Hospital by helicopter.

The fourth patient, a woman, was taken to Timaru Hospital by ambulance.

The incident has closed State Highway 79 in the area of Kakahu.

And a man and woman were hospitalised after a police pursuit in Manurewa.

The vehicle fled from police, before colliding with another vehicle on Russell Rd at about 4.45pm.

A female passenger in the fleeing vehicle suffered serious injuries and a male driver from the other vehicle had moderate to serious injuries. Both were transported to Middlemore Hospital.

The driver of the stolen vehicle fled from police on foot and was still at large this evening.

A spate of crashes across the South Island also caused a number of moderate to minor injuries and closed roads.

Last year's Labour Weekend road toll ended with three people killed on our roads. A total of 94 people were injured in other reported crashes.