A 23-year-old man from North Canterbury is in a critical condition after being thrown from his vehicle when it crashed into a pole.

The accident happened in the town of Harwarden, near Lake Sumner Forest Park just after midnight.

The car ended up about 40 metres down the road after the crash.

In another crash today near Nelson, three men escaped serious injury when their vehicle flew over a barrier, rolled down a bank and landed in the sea, about 1.30am.

The two Nelson men and a man from Tauranga escaped with minor to moderate injuries and were discharged from hospital this morning.

Police said charges were likely.

Three other men were also lucky to escape serious harm after their vehicle rolled down a bank in the early hours of the morning near Gisborne.

The men from Hamilton were taken to Gisborne Hospital in other vehicles they had been travelling in convoy with.

The 19 and 20-year-olds were treated in the hospital's Accident and Emergency department and discharged.

A witness said it appeared the vehicle rolled several times before coming to rest on its wheels.

The official holiday road toll tonight remains at three, with two men and an elderly woman killed on the nation's roads.

A toddler and a teenager have also lost their lives in vehicle accidents over the Christmas break.

On Boxing Day a 58-year-old Taumarunui man was killed in a single-vehicle crash near Taumarunui, shortly after 1pm.

The accident happened five kilometres north of the town on State Highway 4. No one else was in the vehicle at the time.

Shane Curtis Tosh, 24, was also killed on Boxing Day in a serious crash in Southland.

The accident happened 200 metres east of the Lorneville-Dacre highway, north of Invercargill, about 6.30am.

Mr Tosh was found dead at the scene. He was the sole occupant of a Honda saloon.

And Chinese national Rongmei Wang died at the scene of a two-car crash in Hamilton on Christmas Day.

The 71-year-old woman was a rear passenger in a car that collided with a ute about 12.35pm.

Four of her family members were taken to Waikato Hospital.

Police later tracked down a 26-year-old suspended driver who allegedly fled the crash scene.

Meanwhile, three-year-old toddler Te Haeata Pitiroi was killed at Hatepe near Taupo about 9pm on Christmas Eve when he was run over in a shared driveway.

And 16-year-old Rowan Cai Parker was killed about 6.30pm on Wednesday when he lost control of a quad bike in the Chaslands area of South Otago and drove over a cliff - falling 150 meters on to rocks.

Neither Rowan's nor the toddler's deaths count towards the official holiday road toll as the crashes did not happen on public roads.

The official holiday road toll began at 4pm on Christmas Eve and will finish at 6am on January 3.

Last year 19 people died and 381 were injured in crashes during the official Christmas holiday period.


* Slow down in communities, on rural roads, and drive to the conditions.

* Don't drive after consuming any amount of alcohol or taking drugs, and be careful about driving the morning after drinking by planning ahead.

* Always wear a seatbelt, make sure everyone else in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt and that children are in correctly-fitted child restraints. Also make sure you have done vehicle checks such as checking lights, tyres, mirrors and windscreen wipers before setting off.

* Have your phone switched off or on silent and out of reach. Minimise other distractions.

* Take breaks every two hours on long journeys. Don't drive if you are tired, ill or stressed.