The two people who died in a two-car smash near Twizel in the South Island have been named.

They are 37-year-old Christchurch woman Mon Chhetri and her 8-month-old son, Aaron Chhetri.

Five others were injured in the crash, which happened on the Omarama side of the canal bridge on Twizel-Omarama Rd, State Highway 8, shortly before 7pm yesterday.

In a statement, police said initial inquiries indicated the vehicle Ms Chhetri and her son were travelling in was approaching SH8.

Advertisement

The driver, a 44 year-old male, slowed at the intersection and pulled out on the highway into the path of an oncoming vehicle travelling south towards Omarama.

Ms Chhetri and her son died at the scene, while the driver and a 10-year-old girl, were airlifted to hospital.

The three passengers in the second vehicle, travelling south, were transported to hospital - two by helicopter and one by ambulance.

The President of New Zealand's Non Resident Nepali Association, Baburaja Maharjan, said he was extremely saddened to hear about the accident, which claimed two members of Christchurch's Nepalese community.

"We extend deepest condolences to family members and we express immediate recovery of other Nepalese friends seriously hurt in the accident."

Mr Maharjan said the family was returning home to Christchurch after visiting friends in Queenstown and Dunedin when the accident occurred.

Originally from Bhutan, they had come to New Zealand as refugees, he said.

A serious crash investigation is continuing into the crash.