Bystanders rushed to help a woman stabbed in her car at an Auckland intersection - and held down the alleged attacker while waiting for police to arrive.

Panicked screams rang out after the incident in Papatoetoe about 7.30pm last night, at the intersection of Hoteo Ave and Huia Rd.

A middle-aged woman is in Middlemore Hospital with non-life threatening wounds. Her alleged attacker, a 19-year-old woman, appeared in Manukau District Court today charged with wounding with intent.

Police inspect a car after a woman was stabbed at an intersection in papatoetoe last night. Photo / VMP
Police inspect a car after a woman was stabbed at an intersection in papatoetoe last night. Photo / VMP
The woman stabbed was in the red Toyota. Photo / VMP
The woman stabbed was in the red Toyota. Photo / VMP

Police have said the two were not known to each other.

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Daljit Kaur was at home near the intersection when she heard the first scream. Another followed, and another.

"It was just panic. Like when someone wants to save their life - that scream," she told the Herald. "We didn't know what had happened. We thought somebody might have been run over."

Kaur went to her letterbox and saw the red Toyota hatchback stopped at the intersection. Both front doors were open. The woman who had been stabbed was in the driver seat, Kaur said, and another woman near the passenger seat.

A pool of blood at the scene today. Photo / Nicholas Jones
A pool of blood at the scene today. Photo / Nicholas Jones

Another man, who looked to be in his 20s, approached the alleged attacker, waving a bottle at her. Kaur thought he was trying to stop her.

By the time she reached the intersection other men had gone to help, Kaur said. She thinks they may have come from the cars stopped behind the Toyota.

The victim was pulled out of the car and laid on the road. She was quiet and blood was pouring from her wound, up around the shoulder area.

"It was too much blood," Kaur recalled.

The other woman was now in the passenger seat, Kaur said, being held down by a man who was probably a bystander. She couldn't see any knife.

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Daljit Kaur, a resident nearthe scene of the stabbing. Photo / Nicholas Jones
Daljit Kaur, a resident nearthe scene of the stabbing. Photo / Nicholas Jones

Police and paramedics arrived within minutes. The car remained at the intersection into last night, it's doors wide open while police dusted for prints and collected evidence. Other cars which had been behind the red car also remained parked on the road.

Kaur has lived in her home for about 10 years. There can be noise on the street, particularly on Friday nights as people make their way to and from Hunters Plaza. However, this was the first stabbing.

"It is very disturbing, being just around the corner. My husband said, 'We need to move from this street'. But then what? It can happen anywhere."