Police are hunting a man after a violent stabbing in central Auckland.

The male victim was stabbed in Pitt St after he and a friend were confronted by the offender near the Methodist Church car park just after 3pm on Sunday.

The victim was stabbed in the neck and suffered significant injuries, police said.

"This was a violent attack where the actions of the offender far outweighed the minor altercation that lead to the attack and he needs to be held to account," said Detective Senior Sergeant Lloyd Schmid.

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Police want to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident.

"A few minutes before the incident at approximately 3pm, the offender had verbally abused a male who was preaching on Karangahape Road outside St Kevin's Arcade and the victim asked the offender to stop," Schmid said.

"We urge anyone who witnessed either incident, or recognises the man in the image to contact police immediately."

Pitt St Methodist Minister Rev Dr Lynne Frith said a Fijian service was taking place in the church when the attack occurred but no one in the congregation heard or saw the attack.

"The police came and asked for CCTV footage, but we don't have CCTV at all so we were not very helpful to them," she said.

She did not know who the street preacher might have been.

"We don't often get street preachers on K Rd," she said.

St Kevin's Arcade property manager Pieter Venter said he and police officers had spoken to all the shops in the arcade but no one saw the incident involving the street preacher.

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"Generally people don't preach outside St Kevin's Arcade, that's why I was surprised. It's always Queen St," he said.

* If you have any information that could help our investigation, please contact the Auckland City Crime Squad on (09) 302- 6557.