4 May 2019

Three people have died after a crash in Hatepe, south of Taupō

2:33 pm on 4 May 2019

Three people have died in a crash between a truck and a van in Hatepe, south of Taupō.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Emergency services rushed to the scene on State Highway 1 at about 4.40am.

Police said the three people killed were travelling in the van while the driver of the truck has been taken to Taupō hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

One lane of the highway is closed and motorists are being told to expect delays.

The police are spending the day talking to relatives of the three people who died in the crash.

It's the latest multiple fatality in the Taupo region. Seven people from the same family and one other person died in a head-on smash in Atiamuri last Sunday, and a crash killed five people from the same family near the Kinleith Forest last month.

Bay of Plenty road policing manager Brent Crowe said the weather conditions south of Taupō were fine early this morning and there were no road works.

"Again, it is heart-breaking to know that there are another three families now that will be grieving for loved-ones that have been taken so suddenly," he said.

Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas said previously that locals cannot take any more fatalities. Today he said he's had a gutsful of talking about road crashes in his region and wants to get to the bottom of what's causing them.

He said road conditions today were perfect, and the causes of these crashes need to be quickly established.

According to Transport Agency statistics there have been 35 deaths in the Waikato region so far this year - seven more than the 28 deaths there by this time last year.

April was the deadliest month on the roads in 10 years, with 45 deaths.

Further south, a person died in a crash in Darfield in Canterbury overnight and an investigation is underway.