A mother escaped serious injury when a car being chased by police smashed into a patrol vehicle and then rolled onto her car in south Auckland today.

The 36-year-old man driver was arrested and charged with a raft of driving offences after the incident on Great South Rd in Manurewa. Police are also speaking with his 36-year-old female passenger.

Inspector Richard Wilkie said police became interested in the vehicle when it was spotted in Te Kauwhata, south of Auckland, about 10.30am.

Officers, who found it to have been stolen, signalled for it to stop but it drove off at speed.

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It was again spotted in Pokeno, a little further north, from where police followed it some 30km along State Highway 1 into the busy heart of south Auckland.

The vehicle spent some time driving around Manurewa sidestreets - Mr Wilkie suspected the driver may have been looking for a familiar address to hide at - before it pulled into the Mobil petrol station on the corner of Mahia Rd and Great South Rd.

A police patrol car was parked near the entrance to the petrol station and the car being followed drove straight into it, causing it to roll onto another car with a 47-year-old local woman inside.

She suffered minor bruising to her shoulder. The officer who was the sole occupant of the police car was uninjured.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified but Mr Wilkie was adamant officers had acted appropriately.

"The guys have done well here.''

He said the officers' actions may have prevented the incident resulting in serious injury or death.

"We want to reassure the public that we're going to be doing everything we can to stop these drivers. Prevention is what we're about: we want to stop it before it happens and people are injred,'' he said.

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Mr Wilkie said the driver was wanted on a warrant for multiple unrelated matters.