Two people died and 13 people were injured in three crashes yesterday.
One person died in a single-vehicle crash in Methven, near Christchurch, and another person has was killed after a van carrying seven people crashed near Cromwell, in Southland.
North of Gisborne, seven people were also injured - two critically - when two cars collided near Te Karaka. Southern police Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said one person died when the van crashed on Luggate-Cromwell Rd.
"It appears there were seven occupants have been in the van when it has crashed with one person having died at the scene," he said.
Emergency service personnel freed two trapped occupants, while the remaining occupants were able to remove themselves from the vehicle and were treated by ambulance staff.
Police would begin a serious crash investigation into the cause of the crash, he added.
The road was closed in both directions following the accident.
On State Highway 2, Matawai Rd north of Gisborne was later re-opened after two cars collided there about 10.45am.
Eastern police Senior Sergeant David Sutherland said there were four people in one car and three in the other.
St John spokesman Ian Henderson said seven patients were treated at the scene and all were transported to Gisborne Hospital.
Two patients were in critical conditions and transported separately by helicopter, and five were in serious conditions. "We sent a number of resources to the scene, including three ambulances and a rescue helicopter from Gisborne," he said.
A fire service spokesman said crews from Te Karaka and Gisborne went to the scene.
He said one patient was a child and two patients were trapped on arrival, but were freed by firefighters. Mr Henderson said an ambulance was also dispatched to the fatal crash in Methven, but the driver had died. St John was alerted at 9.11am, he said.
There was only one occupant in the vehicle at the time of the crash. NZME