Police are tonight hunting the killer of a father of four, savagely stabbed to death late last night in South Auckland.

Counties Manukau police named the victim as Olo Fiti, 37, who lived in Otara and was employed locally.

He was the father of four children, all under seven, and has a wife who is pregnant with their fifth.

Detective Inspector Jim Gallagher said at a news conference today Mr Fiti was hit by a "sudden, vicious attack" as he walked down the driveway of a friend's house in Preston Road, Otara about 11.15pm.

"We do not think it's random...it seems to have all the hallmarks of someone going after [him]."

Mr Gallagher said dead man was attacked by one offender who stabbed him repeatedly, "inflicting many serious wounds which caused his death".

An ambulance was called but Mr Fiti's life could not be saved and police were called in.

Mr Fiti, described as a hard worker and someone not known to police, had socialised with friends after finishing work on Friday and was given a lift to his friend's house.

Mr Gallagher said initial enquiries established that two vehicles had arrived at the address at the time of the attack.

Police were able to account for one of them, but are seeking the other - an older model silver Subaru with roof rails. It was believed to have had one male occupant.

"Police are keen to hear from anyone who may recognise that vehicle and is able to provide information about its occupant and his activities on Friday evening in relation to the Preston Rd address or any associated addresses," Mr Gallagher said.

"That car is our focus," Mr Gallagher said.

Preston Road was closed off today as police searched for clues outside the address.

A post mortem examination was being carried out today.

- NZPA