More than 20 sheep were killed when a car ploughed into a stray flock northeast of Wairoa.
Emergency services were alerted at 9.35pm on Friday and police, a Wairoa Volunteer Fire Brigade crew and a St John Ambulance rushed to the scene on State Highway 2 near the Whakaki Lagoon.
Some of the animals were still pinned beneath the vehicle, some were strewn across the road and other injured sheep were also on the highway or in drains beside the road.
Some had to be destroyed by the farmer who owned the sheep and who was understood to have been unaware they were on the road until told of the accident.
No one in the northbound BMW car was injured, although the protective air bags were activated, said volunteer Senior Fire Officer Philip Jane, who helped control traffic and then cleaned the road.
"The car can probably still be repaired," he said. "A bit of frontal damage, maybe a bit underneath."
Stock had been cleared to the side of the road by the time Wairoa District Council animal control representative Henry Te Rangi arrived, but he said he understood 25 sheep had been killed.
He was unsure how the sheep got on the road.