Two people are dead following a multiple car crash on State Highway 29a, between Baypark and Maungatapu.

Emergency services were called to the scene of a crash involving at least five vehicles around 4pm yesterday.

One person died at the scene and several others were seriously injured.

A second person later died in Tauranga hospital.

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Police said in a statement the crash appeared to have happened after a car broke down in the west bound lane of traffic on SH29a.

The westbound lane of the highway was closed for more than four hours while the scene was cleared and the serious crash unit investigated.

A passer by caught up in east-bound traffic said ''it looks like a nasty crash".

The woman was heading home to Te Puke but was caught up in traffic about 300m on the eastern side of Maungatapu Bridge about 5.20pm.

The woman, who would not be named, said she could see a person lying on the ground with what looked like a white cover over them.

Police said it was a "chaotic" Friday afternoon for emergency services, who were called to at least three other crashes around Tauranga city.

At the same time five cars crashed on SH29a, two cars collided on Pyes Pa Rd bringing down a power line.

No one was injured and the road was closed temporarily as fire and police attended the scene.

Shortly after, a further two cars crashed on The Strand.

In Bethlehem on SH2 a car hit a tree. The driver received minor cuts to their hands as a result.

The car was towed and the scene examined by police.