A man remains in a critical condition this morning following a fatal crash in Te Puke last night.

The driver of a people-mover vehicle died and a passenger was seriously injured after a car left the road and collided with a tree on Jellicoe St about 6pm on Sunday.

A police spokeswoman said the passenger remains in Tauranga Hospital in a critical condition.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

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Sergeant Rob Glencross said a "youngish" man was killed and his male front seat passenger, who was also trapped inside their vehicle for a time, was taken to hospital.

Six police patrol cars and at least two fire appliance and two St John crews attended the crash.

A police cordon was in place for several hours between Dunlop Rd and Atuaroa Ave, and traffic heading towards Te Puke was diverted down Atuaroa Ave.

Mr Glencross said the cordon was needed while the Serious Crash Unit completed a scene examination, including taking photographs and clearing any debris.

Mr Glencross said it was "too early to speculate" on the exact cause of the crash, and he declined to say where the two men were believed to be heading when their vehicle left the road.

Police inquiries were ongoing, he said.

"No matter what the cause is this is another tragedy as you can see the road is dry and nothing about the road would indicate why this tragedy happened," Mr Glencross said.

Grieving family members at the scene were too distraught to talk, other than one woman who told the newspaper she was off to Tauranga Hospital to check on her critically-injured relative.

Mr Glencross said an extended family member had blessed the scene, and Victim Support staff also attended to offer their support and comfort.