One person has died and five are injured following a multiple vehicle crash in Rotorua this morning.
The crash, involving three cars and a truck, took place on State Highway 5 at Tarukenga, north of Rotorua, at around 11.45am, police said.
One person has died at the scene, police said.
Five others were injured in the crash - one with serious injuries, one with moderate injuries, three with minor injuries.
The road is likely to be closed for some time, police said.
Traffic travelling into Rotorua is being diverted via Turakenga Rd and traffic moving towards Hamilton is being diverted onto Dansey Rd and then Turakenga Rd.
"Motorists are advised to avoid the area or expect delays," police said.
It comes as the official holiday road toll rose to 12 this morning, after a man who was injured in a crash at Whangaparoa on New Year's Day died of his injuries last night.
It brought the toll within reach of last year's 16 deaths over the same period.
In all, seven drivers, three passengers, one motorcyclist, and one cyclist lost their lives this Christmas-New Year holiday period. Five of those deaths occurred since January 1.
"If we lose one person to road trauma then that's one too many," Superintendent Steve Greally, national road policing manager, said.
"While it's encouraging that four more people are alive than last holiday period, it's little comfort to the families and friends of those victims, and to the people who are injured or otherwise traumatised by these crashes."
Police were called to 1617 crashes around the country during the official holiday period, which ran from 4pm on December 24, to 6am today.
And while the holiday period is now over, it's "not over for road safety vigilance", Mr Greally said.
"The holidays aren't over yet for police or the public. We'll be maintaining our visibility on the roads, and if people see unsafe driving, then call *555 and let us know. Your call could make a difference to the lives of others."
Drivers making good decisions were "crucial to reducing road trauma", he said.
"We encourage everyone to follow the basic safety rules. These include checking your speed, driving to the road conditions, avoiding alcohol, taking rest breaks and wearing a seat belt. Please make sure your passengers, especially children, are safely restrained," Mr Greally said.
"Most drivers do a great job and we congratulate them for making sound decisions when they're behind the wheel. It's the mistakes and poor judgement of the risk takers who put the lives of the innocent in danger."
Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss urged drivers to remain focussed and vigilant as they make their way home these holidays.
"While it's encouraging to see the holiday road toll is lower than last year's 16, 12 deaths is still 12 too many," Mr Foss said.
"My deepest sympathies go out to anyone who lost a friend or loved one this holiday season."
Many people were still on holiday and driving long distances on unfamiliar roads, he said, so it was important to take a little extra care to give everyone the best chance of making it home safe and sound.
Meanwhile, Waikato Police district road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said the social cost of road deaths was into the millions.
The average social cost per fatality was an estimated $3,981,700, she said, and for non-fatal injuries, the cost was estimated to be $419,300 per serious injury and $22,400 per minor injury.
"This is a huge loss to the economy, but doesn't touch on the emotional cost," Mrs Grace said.
"What road tolls can't portray are all the people who suffered life altering injuries as a result of road trauma and the impact this has on not only them but their families, their friends and even employers."
She urged motorists to make their New Year's resolution to be a safe driver - and stick to it.
"Everyone is out there trying to save lives and it's the sheer avoidability of these deaths that is so tragic," Mrs Grace said.
"If everyone made a commitment to themselves and to their loved ones that they resolved not to drive drunk, to not drive at speeds unsuitable to the conditions and generally treat the roads as a social environment then the cost to our communities could be far less."
FATAL CRASHES THIS HOLIDAY PERIOD
• Jan 4- A man involved in a crash at Whangamata on January 1 died from his injuries.
• Jan 3 - Monty Broughton, 68, of Taupo, died in Rotorua Hospital shortly after 11pm, from injuries suffered in a crash on State Highway 33 between Mourea and Okere Falls, east of Rotorua, earlier that day. Emergency services found a vehicle with the injured man and three others crashed into a ditch on their way to another crash.
• Jan 3 - Bradley Charles Dobby, 20, from Central Hawkes Bay, died following a serious crash involving a ute and a car on State Highway 2, just south of the Waipawa Bridge near Ongaonga Rd around 7.30pm. He was one of the drivers.
• Jan 3 - Stevie Rangataua-Alexander, 18, from Auckland, died following a two-vehicle crash on State Highway 1 near Wairakei, 20km from Taupo, about 1pm. She was the driver of one of the vehicles.
• Jan 1 - Benjamin Cecil Rhodes, 37, of Motueka, died and two people were injured when a light van crashed at 2am on the Riwaka side of the Motueka River Bridge in Nelson.
• Dec 31 - Shirley Avis Murcott, 77, of Oamaru, died a day after a single-vehicle crash near Maheno near Oamaru the previous morning.
• Dec 29 - A young man, believed to be aged in his 20s, died in a crash between a car and a truck shortly after noon at Bankside, near Rakaia in Canterbury.
• Dec 28 - Tauranga man Raymond Allen Valere Morreel, 65, died while motorcycling with family members on State Highway 28 in Te Poi.
• Dec 27 - John Edward Davie, 57, of Ranui, died in hospital following a bicycle crash with no other vehicles involved which happened around 2.30pm on Christmas Day on Swanson Rd, west Auckland.
• Dec 26 - Ngatokorua Tangimataiti, 80, and her 57-year-old daughter Are Tito died in a head-on crash south of Tokoroa. They were travelling on State Highway 1 after leaving a whanau gathering.
• Dec 25 - French tourist Remi Morilleau, 27, of Nantes, died in a three-car crash in Northland. It's believed his rental car crossed the centre line and collided with another vehicles. He had arrived in Auckland from Melbourne with his partner on Christmas Day.