A Manukau mother well known for her crusade against drink, drugs and younger "gangstas" has a message for whoever rammed her car into her house.

"We're not intimidated and we're not giving up," said Lyn Mehana, who kicked off the clean-up campaign with long-time friend Liz Kiriona six years ago.

"Liz and I started out because we wanted a better community, for our children, for our moko, for everyone ... Everyone deserves to live in a safe community."

Ms Mehana was at home with teenage children Dakota, Mercedes and Harora, and grandchildren Paris, 5, and Jesse, 20 months, when she heard a loud crash.

Running outside, she saw a dark four-wheel-drive reversing down her sloping property. It had already driven into the family Mazda and was lining up for another hit.

"It came straight back up again and tried to push the car into the house," Mrs Mehana said. "Luckily the steps stopped the car being rammed into the house ... My kids were inside and there could have been someone in the car, bloody lucky."

The uninsured car was written off.

"I'm pissed off and I'm gutted," she said.

She and Mrs Kiriona had only had one threat since starting to clean up the decile one state housing area of Rata Vine six years ago.

"Someone told our neighbours they were going to burn our house down a couple of months ago."

They began in 2003 by petitioning for a liquor ban at a park on Lauerlia Place - a notorious trouble spot - and celebrated the opening of a Housing NZ-funded community house in September. In 2004 the "Rata Vine Girls" - a crew of local teenagers pulled off the street - performed a hip hop concert at Hayman Park on Waitangi Day.

The Manukau mothers' achievements were trumpeted as a model by organisers of Auckland's first "Neighbours Day" in October.

Ms Mehana said locals knew what they did, but didn't usually give them grief. She had "an idea" who the four-wheel-drive driver was, but couldn't prove it - describing him as a male Maori with long hair.

When Mrs Mehana ran inside and called 111, police refused to send a patrol car.

"They said they wouldn't send anyone because it wasn't life-threatening," she said. "I was quite angry about it ... We are doing good community things and encouraging our community to do good things and that's what the police are there for."

Manukau community constable Steve Smith did not know why police didn't attend and planned to "bring it up with the seniors".

He said availability of staff depended on what else was happening and at 11pm it could have been busy.

Mr Smith spoke to Ms Mehana's neighbours yesterday, but none got a good look at the driver.

He praised the mothers for their hard work. "Lynn and them have done some bloody tremendous things in that community and I think that it [ramming] happened because of those good things."

Mr Smith said police used to be frequently called to the area, but the pair had "stepped up and taken ownership. It's having a ripple effect on other members of the community who were previously reluctant to call the police."