A man who suffered serious head injuries in a three-car crash near Opotiki remains in a critical condition in Tauranga Hospital.

The man was transported to hospital by the Tauranga-based Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter.

A hospital spokeswoman said the patient was undergoing scans to determine the extent of his injuries.

St John Lakes area territorial manager Hilary Morrish Allen confirmed the critically injured man was the person initially trapped in one of the vehicles.

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He was taken with critical head injuries to Tauranga Hospital.

"Three children and two adults sustained minor injuries and were taken by road ambulance to Whakatane Hospital."

She said three other adults were assessed and discharged at the scene.

The head-on collision happened around 1.50pm today and was attended by police, fire and ambulance crews.

The police serious crash unit will be investigating.