A homicide inquiry has been launched into the death of an Indian-origin taxi driver in Auckland suburbs early on Sunday.
The victim has been identified as Hiren Mohini, a 39-year-old resident of Mount Roskill.
Mohini was driving an Auckland co-op taxi, which veered off the road and hit a tree at approximately 1.30 a.m. Other taxis arrived at the scene within minutes, after an internal emergency device inside the taxi was triggered on impact, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Local residents, who were woken by the crash, rushed to help Mohini and remove him from the vehicle. Emergency services were also called but he died at the scene.
A post mortem examination carried out today revealed that Mohini had been stabbed.
Witnesses revealed that a young male was seen running towards Esplanade Road immediately after the crash, according to the police.
The man they are seeking is described as a slimly-built, dark-skinned male in his mid to late twenties with long, greasy hair. He was wearing a long-sleeved button-up shirt, dark denim jeans and black leather shoes and was carrying a black bag with a strap, said the police.
The police believe that the man flagged down Mohini's taxi at approximately 1.20 am and they are assessing security surveillance footage for more information.
Auckland co-operative taxi society chairman Ian Graham said the society was "deeply saddened by the tragic case of Mohini this morning".
"He was a very quiet, reserved gentleman. A true family man, he loved his family. All he was doing was going about trying to earn an honest living doing a public service," he said.
Graham said Mohini left a wife, a mother and two young daughters, aged five and two.