The scene of an horrific fatal crash between a logging truck and a car in Northland this afternoon looks like a "battlefield", police say.
The collision happened at about 1pm between Waipu and Uretiti on State Highway 1 and claimed four lives.
Two adults and two children died and a third child, an eight-year-old boy, was seriously injured.
Northland Road Policing Manager Inspector Murray Hodson told Checkpoint it appeared the victims were an Asian family, and it was not known whether or not they were tourists, Mr Hodson said.
He said the road was a high-risk crash location, usually due to speed - but this tragedy appeared to have been caused by a critical error of judgement.
"It looks like a battlefield. There are logs spread right across the road, severe damage to the vehicle in which the Asian occupiers were in."
Mr Hodson said it was a tragic incident which appeared to have been caused by a momentary error of judgement, and was a reminder for all drivers to stay focused and concentrate.
State Highway One near Northland is open again following the crash.
The official Christmas holiday road toll period starts at 4pm tomorrow, Christmas Eve, and runs until 6am on 5 January.