A 46-year-old woman who died after her motorcycle and an oncoming car collided near Napier has been described by a close friend as a "special, true and powerful woman".

Estelamare Paulo Dos Santos, a Brazilian art educator, dancer and choreographer based in Haumoana, died on Monday after the crash on SH2, just south of Awatoto.

Police said Ms Santos died at the scene.

A New Zealand resident originally from Brazil, she has been described as a talented dancer and philanthropist who was well-travelled, spoke four languages and had recently begun learning Maori.


Isis Calio, from Sao Paulo, who had been friends with Ms Santos for 17 years, told Hawke's Bay Today Ms Santos' friends and family in Brazil were in shock.

Ms Santos was "a special, true and powerful woman," who was "very spiritual".

"Everyone who had the pleasure of her friendship was a blessed person.

"She was an amazing dancer and a very engaged person with her work."

Ms Santos had worked with people from slums, although she rejected the word. She studied dance in Brazil and India and performed at dance festivals in Brazil, India, Germany and France. She had also taught students with disabilities in Brazil.

In 2012 she completed the course in Steiner Teacher Education in New Zealand.

Hawke's Bay musician Ben Throp, who collaborated with Ms Santos in a concert by Ben Throp and the Intimate Strangers at the Hawke's Bay Opera House last year, said she was "an amazing dancer".

Fellow band member John Rae said he was "totally gutted" to hear of Ms Santos' passing.

"As a person and an artist she was just beautiful and the world is a poorer place without her."

Senior Sergeant Greg Brown said the crash that killed Ms Santos happened about 7am on Monday as she was believed to be on her way to work.

In an apparent attempt to overtake a north-bound car that had stopped on the highway to turn right into the entranceway to the Waitangi Reserve, Ms Santos lost control as she came upon a car in the south-bound lane.

The female driver of the car tried to take evasive action, but wasn't successful.

The police Serious Crash Unit's investigation would continue for "another six weeks or so". Police planned to speak with the driver of the vehicle today, Mr Brown said.