A woman who was shot in the face by high-powered rifle while driving on Auckland's Northwestern Motorway yesterday is not believed to have been "specifically targeted", police say.

She was travelling towards the city, in the left-hand lane, and passing under the Royal Rd overbridge around 9.38am when a projectile went through her car's windscreen and struck her in the face.

Police won't say from where exactly the bullet was fired, only that it was from a "nearby area".

"There is no evidence to suggest this was an intentional act, and there is no indication that any further shots were discharged," a police spokeswoman said.

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"We remain keen to talk to anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious, particularly anyone in the Royal Rd or wider Massey area who may have heard a loud bang or noise around 9:38am yesterday."

Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Nick Salter said he did not believe the vehicle was specifically targeted.

"Analysis suggests the bullet has ricocheted through the windscreen."

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The woman was taken to Auckland City Hospital with serious injuries but is now stable. Police say her injuries are not life-threatening.

The car has been forensically examined as part of the police inquiries, which have been focused in the Royal Rd area.

Police are investigating the incident which happened on the Northwestern Motorway.
Police are investigating the incident which happened on the Northwestern Motorway.

"There were a number of vehicles travelling on the motorway at that time and we would like to hear from any drivers that witnessed the incident," Salter said.

"We would also like to hear from anyone who was on the eastern side of State Highway 16 and in the Royal Rd area who may have heard a loud bang or noise around the time of this incident."

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Following the incident, a small hole could be seen in the bottom corner of the windscreen of the car the woman was in.

A woman was injured in an incident on the Northwestern Motorway.
A woman was injured in an incident on the Northwestern Motorway.

Residents from homes backing on to the motorway said they heard a loud bang. One thought it sounded like a gunshot. Another described it as a "loud crack".

• Anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the area of the incident should get in touch with Henderson Police by phoning the 105 number. Information can also be given anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.