Three people are dead after a car carrying four teenage boys hit another vehicle head-on near Waihi.
Two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, and a father of three, aged 44, all from Waihi Beach, died at the scene.
Two other teenagers were taken to Waikato Hospital with critical injuries, following the crash just before midnight on State Highway 2.
Police say speed, alcohol and inexperience may have contributed to the crash. Three vehicles were involved and it was a pretty horrific scene.
The force of the collision cut the car carrying the four boys, in half.
Neither the teen driver, aged 17, nor his front seat passenger, aged 16, were wearing seat belts.
Moments later, a third car, which did not have time to stop, drove through the scene.
Sergeant Dave Litton said bodies had been thrown out of the vehicles and were driven over.
He said the exact cause of the crash is still being investigated, but driver inexperience and wet weather may have both played a part. The driver had a restricted licence.
The highway was closed in both directions for several hours, but is now open.
District Council member Anne Gilmer says the tragedy will affect the whole community. She says it will be a matter of everyone pulling together as best they can.