One person is confirmed to have died earlier this morning in a fiery crash in the central North Island.
Emergency services were called around 2.30am after a car and a heavy truck crashed on State Highway 1 north of Atiamuri.
Despite earlier fears of multiple fatalities, police have confirmed just one person has died and was the sole occupant of the car.
Police said emergency services at the scene are still working to separate the vehicles.
The driver of the truck involved in the crash has survived, the northern fire communications shift manager, Megan Ruru confirmed.
Lance Kennett who owns the Bull Ring Cafe, which is at the top of a hill near the crash site, heard sirens about 3am but said he didn't realise a crash had happened so close to his business.
There aren't too many crashes on that stretch of road, he said.
"It's not overly steep. It drops down into an area where there's a bridge and then goes up the other side. I can't really tell you what the grade is."
Mr Kennett said he can see a crane truck and several police cars at the top of the hill.
Jillian Kerley, a local who lives 200m away from the scene of the crash, said she heard a loud bang and arrived to see the car stuck under the truck.
She said a fast-developing fire prevented her from getting close to the vehicles.
"It was just a wall - a sheet of flame up the front of the truck."
She said the truck driver climbed out of his cab and told them to stand back.
"So we all moved back a bit further and, yeah, flames were up over the cab of his truck and you could see that [there was] no way anyone could survive in that car."
Ms Kerley said the truck driver, who survived, told her the driver of the car had come across the centre line and lost control going round the corner.
Meanwhile, SH1 at Atiamuri in South Waikato has now reopened to traffic after being shut for hours after the crash.
Southbound traffic on State Highway 30 from Rotorua is being diverted north to Tokoroa, then west and south on State Highway 32 and State Highway 30 back to Atiamuri.