Heroic 11-year-old shields friends from Papakura hit-and-run

An 11-year-old south Auckland girl has been labelled a hero after helping to save two other children from a hit-and-run.

Three children were injured when a driver ran off the road, but witnesses say it could have been much worse.

Jayde Whanga-Katipa was walking home in Papakura on Friday afternoon when a speeding car came out of nowhere.

"We've just seen a car skidding up top, and all the tyres were popping," Jayde said.

The car started to go out of control on Artillery Pl, and witnesses say it was travelling at about 80km/h, mounting the pavement and hitting a group of children at the top of the road.

Jayde was hit in the leg, but she put her friends' safety ahead of her own, pulling a brother and sister, aged seven and 12, out of the way. 

She also called out to her big brother to warn him.

"I just managed to look back and the car just hit me from behind and I went over the bonnet," her 15-year-old brother, Tukotahi Whanga-Katipa, said.

He went to help the injured driver, but they reversed and drove off.

Witnesses of the accident are appalled.

"This was quite terrible because the children could have been hurt really badly," said witness Farisa Bano.

"To the driver who did this, I think you're a coward, because the fact that you knew you hit those children and you took off is absolutely ridiculous," said another witness.

Police are still looking for the driver. 

Jayde's family say they are very proud of her, and are glad no one was more seriously injured.

Witnesses are asked to contact Papakura Central Police Station on (09) 295 0200.