One person has been killed and a second has life-threatening injuries after their motorbikes collided north of Auckland this afternoon.

A third person, who police believe was a passenger on one of the motorbikes, has moderate injuries.

The crash happened on State Highway 1, just north of Wellsford heading south, a St John spokeswoman said. Police said the crash occurred near the Lovers Lane intersection.

St John Ambulance was called to the crash at 4.13pm. Two ambulances are at the scene and another two are on their way, along with a helicopter from Northland.

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A section of SH1 near Lovers Lane is closed in both directions. Diversions are in place but motorists, particularly heavy vehicles, are asked to avoid the area for at least a couple of hours.

Police are working to notify next of kin.