One person is dead after a four car crash on State Highway 1 near Moeraki this afternoon.

Police were called about 3.30pm to a crash involving four cars on the Hampden-Palmerston road, near the turnoff to the Moeraki Boulders.

One person has died at the scene and another has critical injuries.

The person with critical injuries is being transported by rescue helicopter to Dunedin Hospital.

Two people with moderate injuries are being taken to Oamaru Hospital.

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A St John spokesman said it was alerted to the crash by Fire Service communications at 3.35pm.

Two ambulances and a first response vehicle had been sent to the scene.

State Highway 1 is open but has been reduced to one lane, and delays can be expected.

The serious crash unit has been notified and will be investigating.