A request for a cigarette ended with a Dunedin teen in hospital and a man allegedly weilding a meat cleaver in police custody early yesterday.

An 18-year-old was walking with a friend along De Carle St, in St Kilda, just before 4am when the incident took place, Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said.

The pair met a man known to them and an argument took place after one of the parties asked for a cigarette.

The alleged offender then ran inside his nearby home and came out "with a meat cleaver in one hand and a kitchen knife in the other".


The victim was stabbed centimetres from his heart - near his armpit - and "got a fairly serious injury, but not life-threatening", Snr Sgt Benn said.

"It could have been a lot worse."

The man was taken to Dunedin Hospital, after his friend called emergency services, and was discharged yesterday.

Police arrested a 24-year-old Chinese man, who has been charged with possession of an offensive weapon. More charges were likely, Snr Sgt Benn said.

An interpreter was called to assist with the case.