A small northern Hawke's Bay community is rallying around the families of four young men hospitalised after a crash that flattened the front of the car they were travelling in on Sunday morning.
Tehauwaho Wesche, Parekura Raroa, Cody Taumata and Keanu Taumata, all of Nuhaka, were seriously injured after the white station wagon they were travelling in smashed into a culvert on the 100km/h stretch of State Highway 2, 10km north of Wairoa, about 6.20am on Sunday.
The impact flattened the front of the car up to the rear passenger doors, and required two rescue helicopters to fly the injured, aged between 16 and 22 years old, to Hawke's Bay Hospital.
Last night two of the group, who are all believed to be related, remained in a critical condition at the Hastings hospital. The other two were in a stable condition.
The mother of one of the victims, Dennise Raroa, said her 16-year-old son Parekura had undergone surgery.
"He's recovering well, the surgeons have done all that they can," she said.
Mrs Raroa said the Nuhaka community had been supporting the families since they rushed to their children's bedsides.
"All the community has come together with token gestures and that sort of stuff, and the hospital staff have been really good which is helping with the recovery as well," she said.
It was a shock to get the phone call about her son's crash, Mrs Raroa said, but the support of family and friends was comforting those affected.
Police said speed was believed to be a factor in the single-vehicle crash that left belongings and car parts strewn across the road.
"The car the males were in appeared to have left the road at speed," a police spokeswoman said.
The Serious Crash Unit investigation was continuing.
The crash contributed to a shocking weekend on North Island roads, with a death toll of seven and more than 12 hurt.