Annoyed by a text message, Peter John Orchard drove at speed and smashed a ute into three light poles with a woman and children in the vehicle.

Three screaming children were in the back seat and a female front-seat passenger was knocked unconscious and had to be cut from the wreckage by volunteers of the Kerikeri Fire Brigade.

Orchard, 37, has pleaded guilty in the High Court at Whangarei to two charges of common assault, one of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, dangerous driving, and one of breaching a protection order.

An agreed summary of facts stated Orchard was driving a woman and three children from Kerikeri to Paihia on January 6. She received a text message that mentioned allegations against him.

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Orchard became extremely agitated and angry and, as he approached the intersection of State Highway 10 and Kerikeri Rd, he drove off the road and into several road signs.

The children screamed in terror.

He lined up three street lights and immediately before hitting the first one, he reached over and unclipped the female passenger's seatbelt.

Orchard then lined up the poles so that the impact was on the passenger's side of the ute.

The vehicle flipped over and came to a rest on the front passenger's side from the impact with the third pole.

Orchard then got out armed with a 25cm kitchen knife and spent about five minutes around the side of the crashed ute. Members of the public stopped to offer help.

Orchard dropped the knife and ran off and was arrested a short time later.

He was taken to the Whangarei Hospital with suspected neck injuries while his female passenger suffered bruising all over her body and was airlifted to hospital. The children were not hurt.

In explanation, Orchard said the crash was not an accident and he meant to do it.

He was remanded in custody for sentencing on December 6 and Justice Kit Toogood ordered a pre-sentence report.