A woman died and a man was seriously injured in a head-on collision near Te Puke.
The crash happened just after 4pm yesterday on a corner of State Highway 2, east of Poplar Lane. It involved a silver Honda Integra, travelling towards Tauranga, and a silver Mazda people mover, headed towards Te Puke.
When the Bay of Plenty Times arrived, the front of the people mover had smashed into a roadside barrier and the Honda had been shunted into a ditch on the Te Puke-bound side of the highway.
The left side of the Honda was caved in, the front flattened and the roof removed.
Western Bay of Plenty police Sergeant Mike Owen said three occupants, including the dead woman, who was in her 30s, had been travelling in the Honda.
The injured front seat passenger had to be cut from the car by firefighters. A teenage boy had been sitting on the back seat.
Mr Owen said two adults and two children had been in the Mazda.
"The teenage male had minor abrasions, the passenger is status one with severe injuries to the chest, arms, legs and hips. The people in the Mazda suffered severe bruising injuries from the impact. All occupants were taken to Tauranga Hospital," he said.
Police would not confirm where all of the people in the crash were from, but said some were from Rotorua.
The highway from Te Puke to Papamoa was blocked for three hours while the crash scene was cleared. Long lines of traffic built up on either side, including a bus heading to Rotorua, two petrol tankers and a number of Te Puke residents.
Naked Bus driver John Eiao said the wait had driven some of his passengers to leave the bus and walk away to find another mode of transport.
A diversion was available via Te Puke Quarry Rd, Rocky Cutting Rd and Welcome Bay Rd, but this was unsuitable for heavy traffic.
Mr Eiao said the rest of his passengers were keeping themselves occupied with the free wi-fi on the bus.
He also said the police had been "awesome" at keeping them notified of what was happening.
"They have been keeping us up-to-date with everything and have been answering our questions as well."
Police examined the crash scene and were investigating the cause.