A woman has been flown to hospital after a crash which prompted the closure of State Highway 36 between Tauranga and Rotorua.

The highway was closed for about an hour after a car crashed into a bank near Te Matai Rd about 3.40pm.

A police communications spokeswoman said the highway was closed to allow for a rescue helicopter to land. It was reopened about 5.45pm.

The female driver of the white car suffered serious injuries and had to be cut free from the wreckage before being flown to Tauranga Hospital.

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A witness to the crash said the car hit a bank and spun across the road into another bank.

Fire Service communications shift manager Daniel Nicholson said the driver had been trapped, prompting the fire service to cut free the car's doors to get her out.

The front of the car suffered significant damage.

The crash comes days after Nelson Hei Hei was killed when the truck he was driving left the road in the gorge just below Te Matai Rd.