Diversions are in place following a serious crash north of Whangarei.

Five people were injured in the head-on collision on Whakapara's Russell Rd about 30 kilometres north of Whangarei. One person escaped unharmed following the 12.30pm crash.

Whangarei police Sergeant Mohammed Atiq said it was "very lucky" the six occupants - three in each car - had escaped with their lives.

Two people were taken to hospital in a serious condition and three were in a moderate condition.

It appeared one of the vehicles had crossed the centre line and ploughed into the other, Sergeant Atiq said.

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The mangled Nissan Tino and Subaru Legacy involved were blocking Russell Rd, which would be closed to traffic for several hours while the police's Serious Crash Unit investigated, Mr Atiq said.

Detours were via Peach Orchard Rd and Pigs Head Rd.