A Hastings woman has admitted kidnapping the man who was driving her home by holding a nail file to his throat.

Nuala Star-Chanel Nuku-Houlahan, 42, pleaded guilty to a charge of kidnapping before Judge Geoff Rea in the Hastings District Court on Tuesday morning.

On an evening in May, Nuku-Houlahan drove to a house in Takapau and was greeted by a man and his family.

She told him she felt her car was unsafe to drive and needed a ride back to her home in Hastings.

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He agreed and left the house in his own car, carrying Nuku-Houlahan in the passenger seat.

Soon after they left, she became agitated and got him to make multiple stops at various stores during the journey back to Hastings.

They continued along State Highway 2, but after driving for 30 minutes Nuku-Houlahan asked him to pull over.

He told her he couldn't, which angered her and she screamed at him to pull over immediately.

Nuku-Houlahan told him to turn the car around and drive south and the man obeyed.

She reached into her handbag and pulled out a nail file, holding it to his throat, the summary of facts says.

She told him she had a knife and that she would stick it into his neck if he didn't comply.

"I could kill you. I am not afraid," she told him.

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Fearing for his life, he continued to drive under Nuku-Houlahan's instructions - but as they approached Otane, she told him to turn around and drive north towards Hastings.

He immediately obeyed and as the drive continued Nuku-Houlahan kept giving him more instructions as she continued to hold the nail file to his throat, at times pressing it against his neck.

They finally arrived at her address, where Nuku-Houlahan got out of the car.

The driver immediately fled and called police and Nuku-Houlahan was later arrested.

She told police that "she was scared for her life".

"That's why I held the thing to his throat."

Defence counsel Eric Forster said Nuku-Houlahan's actions "were completely out of character" and restorative justice had been sought.

She will reappear in the Napier District Court for sentencing on September 6.