Emergency services were still at the scene of the crash on State Highway 3 between Normanby and Hawera.
The crash, which police said appeared to have been a head-on between two cars, occurred just before 6pm.
The driver of one vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene and was yet to be removed from the vehicle.
The driver of the other car remained trapped and efforts were being made to free them, police said.
A passenger from one car was freed and was being assessed for injuries.