A man who drunk drove and ran a red light, killing a taxi driver in central Auckland just days before Christmas in 2017, has pleaded guilty.

Farshad Bahadori Esfehani was behind the wheel of a Mercedes when he ran a red light on Symonds Street in the early hours of 23 December 2017.

The 22-year-old smashed into the side of the Toyota Prius Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed was driving, killing the young father who had only recently moved to New Zealand for a better life.

He was due to stand trial in the High Court at Auckland next week but pleaded guilty this morning to excess breath alcohol causing death, dangerous driving causing death and failing to stop and ascertain injury.

Esfehani and his passenger fled the scene of the crash before a police Eagle helicopter located them on a street a few blocks away.

More than $50,000 was raised for Mr Syed's family following his death and his body was repatriated to Hyderabad, South India.

Mr Syed had only recently welcomed a baby son with his wife when he was killed.

His cousin Syed Jaffar Mehmodi described him as a soft-hearted man, who worked hard and moved to New Zealand two years before his death.

Esfehani will be sentenced on 2 July.

Anneke Smith, RNZ Court Reporter (Content shared as a partnership with RNZ)