A head on collision between two trucks ripped the cab from a light refrigerated truck delivering fruit and vegetables, killing the driver instantly and closing State Highway 1 for seven hours.
The driver of the heavier truck had his son in the cab and while they both suffered serious injuries they were not life threatening and after initial hospital treatment were recuperating at home.
Police were hoping to release the dead man's name today after a few more family members had been contacted.
Whangarei Sergeant Chris Goodall was one of the officers called to the scene on State Highway 1 at Mata about 7.30am on Saturday.
He described the mangled wreck of the light truck as "horrendous".
Mr Goodall said the light refrigerated truck had come from Auckland and was heading north when it veered across the centre line on a gentle left hand bend between Flyger and Cotton Roads.
Initial investigations indicated the driver of the light truck may have fallen asleep causing him to veer across the road.
Shortly after the crash diversions were put in place and State Highway 1 was closed for seven hours.
Now and again the road was opened for heavy vehicles so they didn't have to take the very rural diversions.
Forensic examinations of the scene and the vehicles was done before both trucks were removed. A police serious crash investigator was also called to map the scene before it was opened about 2.30pm on Saturday. The serious crash investigator was called again about 4.14pm yesterday after a 5-year-old child was reported to have been struck by a car on Western Hills Dr. The child was taken to hospital in an ambulance.