Four people, including a mother and her three-year-old son, died in crashes on the roads today and a woman died after being hit by a train.
The mother and child were killed in a collision between their car and a truck on Rotowaro Rd, west of Huntly, about 8.25am.
"The crash is under investigation by the Waikato Serious Crash Unit and Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit however initial indications are the female driver of a car has lost control on a bend and crossed the centreline,'' said Waikato District Road Policing Manager, Inspector Leo Tooman.
"The car has gone into the path of an oncoming logging truck and trailer which, despite the best efforts of the driver, has hit the car ...''
Mr Tooman said the driver of the truck was unhurt but understandably shaken by what had occurred, and Victim Support was helping both the truck driver and the family of the woman and her young son.
"Soon the names of the deceased will become known and loved ones will be left to work through the grieving process.
"... It is important to note that all those who've lost their lives on our roads this year were loved by their families and will be missed this Christmas,'' said Mr Tooman.
In Northland at about the same time, a man died after the car he was driving collided with a cattle truck on State Highway 1 at Pakaraka, east of Kaikohe.
A female passenger was cut from the vehicle and was taken to Whangarei Hospital where she was in a critical condition.
Police said initial enquiries suggested the car lost control, crossed the centre line and collided with the truck in the southbound lane.
The scene examination has been completed and the road has been reopened.
The family of the dead driver is being contacted by police.
The driver of the truck was not injured and was spoken to by police, as were witnesses to the crash.
Any other witnesses can contact Sergeant Nathan Davis at the Kawakawa Police Station on (09) 404 3150.
The fourth death was in a head-on smash on State Highway 1 at Waikuku in Canterbury at about 2.20pm.
A family sedan vehicle was lying on its roof after the crash between the Waikuku Beach turn off and the Ashley River bridge.
A spokesman for St John ambulance confirmed that one person was found dead at the scene.
A police officer at the scene refused to say whether the deceased was a male or female.
Another person was rushed to Christchurch Hospital emergency department with moderate injuries, St John said.
The busy main arterial road was closed and detours through Rangiora and Sefton were causing major traffic jams.
Meanwhile, a truck and quad bike collided on Tirohanga Rd, north of Taupo, about 9am. The quadbike rider was seriously injured and taken to Waikato Hospital by helicopter.
There was also a crash involving a truck and a car on Huitoetoe Rd in Te Urewera National Park in the Whakatane District about 8.15am. The driver of the car was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
In addition to the road deaths, a woman is dead after being hit by a passenger train in Melville, Hamilton, today.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and the matter had been referred to the coroner.