Four teenage girls are seriously injured after crashing a stolen car into a wall during a short police pursuit near Auckland's waterfront.
The girls had to be cut from the vehicle which ploughed into a concrete block wall after fleeing from police through the suburb of Kohimarama on Sunday.
Police said they received several calls about the behaviour of two 16-year-olds and two 17-year-olds near a coffee shop in the suburb of Mission Bay about 11pm and began the pursuit when they realised that the vehicle was stolen.
Police said they attempted to stop the car as it left Paritai Drive, but the driver immediately accelerated and drove away at speed.
The car hit a concrete median strip on Kepa Road in Kohimarama, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle which then went onto the wrong side of the road and struck a wall surrounding a house.
Neighbour Doris Mousdale described hearing a car roaring and screeching and said she saw the car flying into the wall. She said she heard the girls screaming and shouting before they were rescued by firefighters who had to cut the car to get them out.
Inspector Jim Wilson said police officers were tailing the vehicle without their lights on before the pursuit, which lasted less than a minute.
"We had police staff in position. We had police road spikes in position to stop the vehicle further up and there were other vehicles in the vicinity to locate this stolen car."
Mr Wilson is standing by his officers' decision to instigate a chase, saying the driver had been driving safely up until that point. He would not say what speeds the girls or his officers reached during the chase.
Police said alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the crash. They said all the teenagers, who live in west Auckland, are known to police.
Mr Wilson said iwi liaison officers are talking to the families of the girls and it is too early to tell what charges could be laid.
Two of the teenagers is in critical but stable condition in Auckland Hospital on Monday, while two others are in a stable condition. The most seriously injured is a 17-year-old who is in critical care.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified.