A high speed chase this morning saw the driver of a stolen car speeding towards oncoming traffic on the wrong side of Auckland's Ponsonby Road.

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Witness Vic Lonsdale watched a helicopter and police chase the car as he was stuck in traffic around 10.30am.

"It was here one second, then gone, it was 200m down the road in a matter of seconds."

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Lonsdale said what looked to be a white four wheel drive was tailed by two police hundreds of metres behind.

Lonsdale said he felt a shockwave as the car sped by.

"He was right over the centre line, driving on the wrong side of Ponsonby road... If he'd been any closer he would have taken off my mirror. My daughter was driving, she jumped out of her skin."

Police confirmed a man was arrested in Ponsonby not long after 10.30am and charged with unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

The chase was not an official police pursuit.