St John staff were caring for a patient when an ambulance was stolen in South Dunedin overnight.
Police used GPS to track a stolen ambulance to the Waihola area, where they used road spikes to stop the vehicle at around 11pm on Sunday.
Nobody was injured in the incident and a local man in his 30s was arrested at the scene.
St John Southland District Operations Manager Pauline Buchanan says staff were attending to a patient at a residential address when their ambulance was stolen.
"It is reprehensible that while our ambulance officers were providing essential clinical care to a patient someone would steal their ambulance.
"There was complete disregard for the consequences of their actions and for the patient they were caring for," Ms Buchanan says.
"It is fortunate that the patient was able to be treated at the scene and did not require transportation and there were no further calls for ambulance assistance during this time as this could have potentially impacted one of our patients."
It is believed the ambulance sustained considerable damage and will be off the road for repairs, putting it out of action as an emergency resource.
"St John is grateful for the swift response of the police to the theft of our ambulance and apprehending the offender who stole it," Ms Buchanan says.