Bleak start to Waitangi weekend

Two men were killed when three vehicles collided in Waikato last night. Photo / Daniel Hines
Two men were killed when three vehicles collided in Waikato last night. Photo / Daniel Hines

It's a bleak start to the Waitangi weekend as a series of crashes have left four dead.

Two men were killed when three vehicles collided in Waikato last night.

Emergency services were called at about 10pm to Horotiu Rd, near Hamilton, where two cars and a truck had collided.

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A woman was critically injured as a result of the crash and she was taken to Waikato Hospital.

The driver of the truck was not harmed.

In another crash, a 23-year-old man died after being flung from a vehicle in a crash early this morning in Manawatu.

Police said the man lost control of his vehicle while rounding a right-hand bend on Tangimoana Rd near Ohakea about 2.40am.

He was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene as a result of his injuries.

A 51-year-old man died after losing control of his motorcycle in New Plymouth last night.

Two killed in Waikato crash:


The crash happened about 9pm yesterday and the rider was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

He died from his injuries.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating the crash.

Half an hour later, emergency services were called to a crash where a milk tanker rolled on a main road between the Coromandel and Thames last night.

The incident occurred on State Highway 25A, known as Kopu-Hikuai Rd.

A spokesman for the northern fire communications centre said they were called with reports that a milk truck had rolled at about 9.30pm.

The driver was not injured or anyone else harmed -- save for some spilt milk, he said.

A member of the public who contacted the Herald last night said he and his family had just passed the crash site and that traffic was backed up, as a result.

"The trailer is still attached to the truck. Half of it is sticking out of the road."

In the early hours of this morning, two people had critical injuries and one was in a serious condition after a crash north of Auckland.

Four ambulances rushed to the scene on Whangaripo Valley Rd near Wellsford just after 1am.

Two men were killed when three vehicles collided in Waikato last night. Photo / Daniel Hines
Two men were killed when three vehicles collided in Waikato last night. Photo / Daniel Hines

The injured have been taken to Auckland City Hospital.

In the South Island, two people were injured in Otago after the car they were in flipped.

The crash happened just before 4am on Weston-Ngapara Rd outside Oamaru.

It took police an hour to find the exact location of the crash.

The two people were trapped in the vehicle and had to be pulled out.

Rugby league fans heading to Eden Park for the Auckland Nines event should take a rain jacket as rain is here to stay today.

However, it shouldn't dampen their spirits as it would start to ease tomorrow.

Metservice meteorologist Claire Flynn said rain would be here to stay, at least for today.

"There's currently a band of rain going through. Once it's gone through there should be showers behind that," she said.

"It's easing but it's not going away today."

Waitangi weekend weather:


It won't be cold today however, as temperatures are expected to reach 28C.

For Kiwis looking to enjoy some sunshine for the long weekend, the rain should clear in the afternoon tomorrow.

"There could be more showers around but should be clearing in the city in the afternoon," she said.

Temperatures are expected to reach a high of 27C.

Monday was looking better, Ms Flynn said.

"There could be odd showers and cloud but there should be some fine spells in between.

"It's generally an improving trend."

Wellington was off to a cloudy start today but expected to improve over the weekend.

Luckily for fans heading to the Westpac Stadium for the cricket today, it wasn't expected to rain.

Southerly wind could also be strong at times in exposed places today, but "most people [in Wellington] wouldn't think it's particularly windy today," Ms Flynn said.

Tomorrow would be similar but "a little nice".

"People might see a bit more sun," she said.

Monday should be mainly fine.

"Again, there's a gradual improving trend," she said.

Cloud was expected to increase in Christchurch today with chances of patchy drizzle.

Tomorrow was similar but there would be blue skies in the afternoon, Ms Flynn said.

There was a chance of shower in the afternoon and evening on Monday.

There was a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms for some parts of Northland today.

The Coromandel Peninsula was expected to get the most rain.

"There are periods of heavy rain today and tonight," Ms Flynn said.

Wet and windy conditions in Auckland have prevented the Tino Rangatiratanga flag being raised on the Harbour Bridge this morning.

A team that included safety engineers were on standby to raise the flag since dawn, but wind speeds on the bridge have been around 37 knots, the New Zealand Transport Agency said.

Anything higher than 20 knots is deemed to be unsafe for staff and could also risk the flag ripping and causing hazards for traffic.

All flags were now removed.

The weather is being monitored and at this stage a further attempt to raise the flag would be made around lunch time.

Motorways are expected to be yet again busy for the long weekend, particularly, on State Highway 1 between Puhoi and Wellsford.

"...It then gets very busy again on Saturday from about 8.30am, with the heaviest peaks lasting from 9am all the way through until 2.30pm," NZTA Auckland and Northland Highway manager Brett Gliddon said.

"For those heading south on SH1 and on SH2 through Maramarua, there'll be heavy traffic from lunchtime Friday, with the busiest peak from 2pm until early evening."

Aucklanders heading home on Sunday and Monday should expect delays from lunch time until 5pm both days, Mr Gliddon said.

"Motorists returning to Auckland from the south on SH2 and SH1 can expect the busiest times on Monday from the middle of the day, so travel early to avoid delays," he said.

Mr Gliddon said drivers who wanted to spend less time being on the road should avoid travelling during peak times.

A NZTA spokeswoman advised drivers to allow plenty of time to travel as delays are expected.

NZTA tips for safe driving:

• Ensure everyone travelling with you is wearing a seatbelt

• Stay alert

• Watch your speed

• Be courteous to other road users

• Drive to the conditions

- NZ Herald

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