Tales of attempted car-jackings and near misses are emerging from north Auckland suburbs after a dramatic car chase this morning.
Police are hunting for the man at the centre of the rush hour pursuit, that involved stealing a car and fleeing on the wrong side of the road.
It was understood at least one family had to stop the man from stealing their car while they were inside it, while other people - including a mother pushing her son in a pram and school children on bikes -- had to jump from the vehicle's path and were forced to stay indoors as police hunted for the man.
Inspector Andy Brill of Police Northern Communications Centre said the man was seen "driving erratically" on the Northern Motorway about 7.55am and did not stop when signalled by police officers.
Mr Brill said the man fled police, exiting the motorway at Esmonde Rd, Takapuna and dumping the car he was driving on Velma Rd in Glenfield.
"He dumped that car, ran away and stole another car...off the side of the road...and police chased him to Devonport."
In a statement, a police spokeswoman said the Police abandoned the pursuit due to safety concerns after the driver drove on the wrong side of the road in rush hour traffic.
One woman said she was crossing the Hauraki Cnr intersection with her young son in his pushchair when the driver ran a red light.
"The driver being chased sped through the traffic lights almost hitting me and my son in his buggy and a number of school students on their bikes," she told the Herald.
"He headed towards Belmont and we pointed towards the direction that he went when the first of five police cars went by not far behind him."
She said the man was driving a "little yellow car" that was "all steamed up".
John Long said he was at the corner of Lake Rd and Hauraki Rd when the man "tore through" a red light.
"Pedestrians were crossing four ways. He narrowly missed a lady pushing her baby boy in a pram, and a couple of other people crossing the road.
"I think everyone was a bit in shock."
The man dumped the second vehicle on Diomede St, Devonport and fled the area on foot.
Police were still trying to locate him.
Diomede St resident Tasha Payne saw the stolen car - that had a mobility permit in the window - where it had been dumped in her neighbour's driveway.
The AUT Health Science student said she heard sirens about 8.20am, and looked out her window to see seven police cars and one unmarked police car in the small cul-de-sac.
"It was parked so nicely up the driveway that I didn't realise anything was wrong until I saw all the police cars come around.
"Then I realised that the door had been left open and they had the police dog coming through our property."
Ms Payne said she was asked to stay inside as the event unfolded.
She said the car was towed about 10am and the police had left the street by 10.10am.