Sunday's fatal crash was the region's first Christmas holiday period road death in five years.

The Ministry of Transport said during the 2015/16 holiday period there were 11 fatal crashes - one of which happened in Central Hawke's Bay last Sunday.

"Those crashes resulted in 12 deaths," said the ministry.

It said the provisional road toll includes seven drivers, three passengers, one motorcycle rider and a cyclist. This is four less than for the same period last year.


Police said the latest death occurred in Auckland last night when a man died in hospital from injuries received at a crash in Whangaparaoa on January 1.

Hawke's Bay's only road death for the season occurred in Waipawa on the corner of Ongaonga Rd and SH2. It was also the first vehicular death for the region in 2016.

Police reported that Bradley Charles Dobby died at the scene just south of Waipawa Bridge where it was believed the Honda sedan he was travelling in had collided with a ute.

Tukituki MP Craig Foss is urging drivers to remain focused and vigilant as they head home these holidays.

"While it's encouraging to see the holiday road toll is lower than last year's 16, 12 deaths is still 12 too many," the associate transport minister said.

"Many people are still on holiday and still driving long distances on unfamiliar roads.

" By taking a little extra care, we give ourselves and our families the best chance of making it home safe and sound."

Superintendent Steve Greally, national road policing manager, asked people to make the right decisions when they're on the roads this summer.

"If we lose one person to road trauma then that's one too many," he said.

"While it's encouraging that four more people are alive than last holiday period, it's little comfort to the families and friends of those victims, and to the people who are injured or otherwise traumatised by these crashes."

Police were called to 1617 crashes around the country during the period from 4pm on December 24, 2015, to 6am yesterday.

"Drivers making good decisions are crucial to reducing road trauma," Mr Greally said. "We encourage everyone to follow the basic safety rules. These include checking your speed, driving to the road conditions, avoiding alcohol, taking rest breaks and wearing a seat belt.

"Please make sure your passengers, especially children, are safely restrained."

He said most drivers do a great job and we congratulate them for making sound decisions when they're behind the wheel.

"It's the mistakes and poor judgment of the risk takers who put the lives of the innocent in danger," Mr Greally said.

"The holidays aren't over yet for police or the public," he said. "We'll be maintaining our visibility on the roads, and if people see unsafe driving, then call #555 and let us know.

"Your call could make a difference to the lives of others."