The family of a man who died in a car crash near New Plymouth saw the tragic accident happen right before their eyes.

Abu Bakar Ramli, 56, died when the car he was driving hit another vehicle in the windy Awakino Gorge, north of New Plymouth, about 1.30pm yesterday.

Ramli's daughter, Nurghaklisaa Aquila Abu Bakar, told Fairfax she and her mother were following closely behind her father on the way to Auckland where the family was moving.

Abu Bakar said her father was transporting most of their belongings in his car.

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"The whole thing happened slowly ... like slow motion. I saw him skid, then the other car came from around the bend and they hit each other, then he [her father] hit a bank," she said.

"We stopped on the side of the road and ran over to him to try get him out.

"We were calling his name but we knew he was not there anymore."

Abu Bakar said there were miraculously several doctors and nurses in the cars behind them who ran to help, but it was to late to save Ramli.

"He was driving so slow, he was always a slow driver. He hated to speed."

The cause of the crash is still unknown as the Serious Crash Unit investigates.

The family's plans to leave New Plymouth, after eight years in the city since moving from their home in Malaysia, have been temporarily put on hold while they organise Ramli's funeral.

Ramli's funeral will be held at the New Plymouth Islamic Centre on Smart Rd at 1.45pm on Monday.

The centre posted about Ramli's death on Facebook yesterday.

"It's with a sad heart would like to share with u the very sad news of the passing away of brother Abu Baker in New Zealand, he was involved in car accident today [sic]."