Police are hunting for eight men behind a "violent, frenzied" attack in central Auckland that left two men unconscious - one with critical injuries.

The two victims had been walking along Queen St about 2.30am on Sunday when the group of around eight men approached them.

One of the victims had commented that he liked the music the group were listening to - however this was the only interaction the men had before the attack.

Police described the attack as "absolutely appalling". The two men were rushed to Auckland City Hospital, where one was initially assessed as being in a critical condition.

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They both remain in hospital recovering from their injuries. Police said the condition of the victim initially assessed as critical had since improved.

While the assault was captured on CCTV footage, Detective Constable Tom Malcolm of the Auckland City police unit said this was too graphic for release.

"We know our community will be absolutely shocked by this crime - two innocent members of our community simply having a night out when they were attacked," he said.

"Given the random nature of this attack we believe this could have happened to anyone so it is important we identify these offenders and hold them to account as soon as possible."

Malcolm requested anyone who might recognise the men in the pictures to come forward to help identify them.

He also thanked several members of the community who stepped in to help the victims.

"They put themselves in danger to prevent any further injury to these men and we commend their actions."

Malcolm is reachable on (09) 213 8683 - or witnesses can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.