An Auckland motorist has described the terrifying moment she saw a stolen car hurtling towards her on the motorway.

Two teens and a 12-year-old were apprehended by police after two crashes ended a 28-minute ordeal on the Southern Motorway where the car was driven the wrong way along the busy motorway.

A Papakura woman told the Herald she was so shaken by a near miss with the oncoming car she had to pull over.

Rose Andrew first noticed the driver 50m in front of her duck down slightly before the front of an oncoming car suddenly loomed ahead of her.

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"It was really scary," she said.

"All of a sudden there was the front of a car coming at me."

Andrew said she was heading north towards Ramarama at about 100km/h and believed the oncoming car was doing about the same.

The oncoming car was driving straight down the middle of the motorway between two lanes, she said.

"I am so shocked no one died," she said.

"I looked in my rear-view mirror and there were just trucks and cars swerving out of the way."

Andrew said she had to pulled over for her own safety at Ramarama.

"I was really shaken and I had a good cry."

Andrew said she first noticed police officers before she turned onto the motorway. One had overtaken her to get to the motorway.

When she returned to the motorway after having pulled over, it was clear police were trying to keep the public safe as they were gently swerving across lanes ahead of traffic to reduce speed to about 40kmh, she said.

"They were everywhere," Andrew said.

"They did an amazing job."

Police said about 10am today officers attempted to stop the stolen car in Pukekohe but were unable to do so.

A pursuit was then started but was abandoned within minutes due to the manner of the driving.

The stolen car entered the Southern Motorway at Drury and drove in the wrong direction in excess of the speed limit in excess of 100kmh.

The Police Eagle Helicopter was able to track the car from a distance.

The stolen car briefly exited the motorway before returning.

It then performed a U-turn in heavy traffic, crashing into a Police Dog Squad car.

The stolen car then turned back in the right direction but shortly afterwards crashed into a truck near the Papakura off-ramp, partially blocking the northbound lanes.

A member of the public assisted a police officer to apprehend the driver and the two passengers.

An 18-year-old female, believed to be the driver, a 15-year-old male and 12-year-old female were all taken into police custody.

Andrew was among traffic that was diverted off to Papakura to avoid the crash scene, and could see fire engines driving towards the scene of the crash.

Counties Manukau South Area Commander Dave Glossop said it was "absolutely terrifying" for all motorists who witnessed it and that police were "absolutely amazed that no person has been injured".

"It is through sheer luck that I can say that there are no injuries following this incident," he said.

"This type of behaviour has to stop as it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed."

Glossop said police were now limited in commenting as the matter will be going before the courts "but we want to express our deep concern at this type of offending".

"Hundreds of members of the public going about their daily business were put in immense danger and it is simply unacceptable."