Witnesses have described the horrifying sounds of screaming after a person was hit on Fenton St, near Countdown, tonight.
Emergency services rushed to the scene about 6.30pm after reports of an elderly woman being hit by a car.
St John Ambulance staff said a woman was taken to Rotorua Hospital in a critical condition.
A tow truck has taken away a vehicle from the scene.
Senior Sergeant Mike Membery said the woman was a tourist from China. She was with other people who knew her.
A woman who works in the area has told the Rotorua Daily Post she heard a noise, followed by screams. She then ran outside to see what had happened.
She said she saw two people lying on the ground, including an elderly woman, and it appeared as if family members were standing around them screaming.
She said it appeared two people had been hurt, but emergency services have since clarified only the woman was hurt.
She said witnesses and people from Countdown quickly came out to help the woman, who was lying motionless on the ground. Some brought blankets to keep her warm until emergency services arrived.
She described the screams as "deafening".
"It was so scary. Family of the people were screaming and kneeling down beside them."
Meanwhile Mr Membery said the driver of the car was being spoken to by police but it was too early in the investigation to determine how the incident happened.
The police's serious crash unit is investigating.