Police investigating the death of a taxi driver stabbed to death in Auckland early this morning are seeking the man's final passenger.
Detective Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones says an autopsy revealed Hiren Mohini died after he was stabbed to the upper torso of his body. He died at the scene.
Police are now seeking a passenger who hired the taxi at about 1.20am in the Auckland CBD.
Mr Mohini lived in Mt Roskill and was married with two daughters, aged five and two.
Police said that at about 1.23am an Auckland Co-op taxi was travelling east along View Rd towards Esplanade Rd in Mount Eden when the taxi veered off the road and hit a wall and a tree.
The impact activated an internal emergency device and within minutes other taxis arrived at the scene, police said.
A team of investigators has been interviewing a number of witnesses, including View Rd residents. The police cordon in the area has been lifted. The taxi is now at Auckland City Police Station for further forensic examination.
The mode of weapon used to kill the deceased driver is not yet determined.
Police said residents in the street were woken by the noise of the crash and rushed to assist the injured cab driver and remove him from the vehicle.
Mr Jones said police were seeking a young dark skinned male, age in his twenties, with long, wavy greasy hair who was last seen running in the direction of Esplanade Rd immediately after the crash.
He was wearing dark jeans, black shoes, a long-sleeved shirt and carrying a black bag with a strap.
Police urged anyone with information to contact them on 09 302 6400 or call the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Mr Graham said the taxi company was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Mr Mohini this morning.
"All our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time," he said.
Mr Graham said the company was shocked and angry that a young family man working hard to provide for his family had been taken "in such a senseless act of violence."
"He was a very quiet, reserved gentleman. A true family man, loved his family, and all he was doing was going about trying to earn an honest living doing a public service."
He said Mr Mohini left behind a mother, wife, and two daughters aged five and two.
Mr Graham said a number of employees were at Mr Mohini's home today supporting his family.
FEARS FOR SAFETY
Taxi drivers who gathered at the scene this morning said they had heard a driver was in trouble over the taxi company's communications system.
Bipin Tava said many drivers feared for their safety.
"Every night we go out of the house, we are not sure whether we will be safe or not," he told TVNZ.
"We ask (for) some protection, like some partition between driver and passenger, so that we feel safe."
- with NZPA