Two men were critically injured and are in intensive care at Gisborne Hospital after a hit-and-run this morning.

Emergency services were called to the scene on Centennial Marine Drive just west of The Pipe surf break carpark at about 6.20am.

Both men were initially treated in the Emergency Department and were then admitted to the ICU in a critical condition.

One of the first passersby on the scene spoke to The Gisborne Herald.

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"I was just driving past doing a surf check at The Pipe when I saw a woman with a man lying in the middle of the road, just past The Pipe carpark.

"I pulled over to assist her. The man was lying face down, unconscious and was obviously badly injured."

The man looked along the road and he saw another person lying on the side of the road further west on Centennial Marine Drive, opposite Watson Park.

"I left the man in the woman's care, got back in my car and drove down to him.

"There was lots of blood everywhere. He had a head injury.

"He was conscious and moaning but he was able to talk to me. I reassured him and called 111."

The man stayed with the injured man until the ambulance arrived.

"He appeared to have been dragged along the road by the car before he fell to the side of the road."

An off-duty police officer arrived soon after.

"He went further along the Mad Mile to see if there were any vehicles of interest then came back. Other police arrived soon after I got there."

Police have launched a serious crash inquiry and the area has been cordoned off while a scene examination was carried out this morning.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Ford said they wanted to hear from witnesses to the incident.

"The two men were out walking when they were hit by a vehicle at around 6.15am between the Millennium Wall and Pacific Street on Centennial Marine Drive.

"We believe the vehicle was travelling along Centennial Marine Drive from the direction of the Gisborne Olympic Pool when the incident occurred."

Detective Senior Sergeant Ford said the vehicle would have damage to its bonnet and windscreen.

"Any members of the public who witnessed the crash, or have information about this vehicle or who saw any vehicles travelling in the area at the time of the crash, is encouraged to come forward.

"We know there were a number of people in that area checking out the waves and we would like to hear from them.

"Anyone who has witnessed a vehicle with fresh damage is also encouraged to contact police," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Mark Moorhouse at Gisborne Police on 06 831 0700.

Information can be passed on anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.