The deaths of two Hawke's Bay women contributed to "a disastrous week on New Zealand's roads" - with 15 people losing their lives in the past seven days.

Overnight on Wednesday, the two were killed in separate car crashes only hours apart.

Yesterday police released the name of Taku-Manawa Kara, who died in a crash early Thursday morning on State Highway 2 near Raupunga.

A second person escaped without serious injury from the crash, which happened 1km out of Raupunga toward Wairoa.


Friends and family have shared tributes online to the 20-year-old from Hamilton with a "beautiful soul, and ray of light".

Her death notice stated she was a loved daughter of Tania, and the late Percy, and loved partner of EK. She left behind her siblings Tyessha, Tamatahi, and Taimana, as well as many nieces and nephews, aunties and uncles, nannies and koroua.

Her funeral would be held on Monday at a family home in Napier. Last night her family said they did not want to comment.

Police have not yet released the name of the woman who died in a crash on SH5 near Te Pohue, around 11.30PM on Wednesday night.

Serious Crash Unit Senior Constable Cory Ubels said it appeared a "people mover type vehicle" had failed to negotiate a moderate right-hand bend in the road.

The car - carrying two males and two females - had slid off the road, tumbling and landing on its roof.

One of the female occupants was dead when police arrived. Some of the passengers were treated for injuries at the scene.

The accident closed the stretch of highway until about 3.15am.

Acting Eastern District Commander Inspector Tania Kura said police extended their sincerest condolences to both women's whanau and friends.

"Any life lost on the road is lamentable," she said

Police have also acknowledged the number of fatalities on the nation's roads in the past week.

Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff said "every death on our roads is a tragedy and 15 families who have lost a loved one are now dealing with the aftermath".

"It is saddening to see so many people dying on our roads because the majority of road crashes can be prevented by taking some simple steps to ensure your safety, and the safety of other road users."

Mr Cliff said one of the biggest ways to reduce risk of being involved in a crash was to be mindful of other road users, and with users changing their driving to ensure they arrived at their destination safely - such as being alert, and driving to the conditions.

"We know people sometimes can make mistakes and the way you drive needs to
allow for mistakes others may make."

Speed and restraints were the factors which most affected the outcome of a crash, "it's the difference between serious injury and death, being maimed for life or walking away."

These 15 crashes are now under investigation and cause is yet to be established. All 15 cases are now subject to a coroner's inquest.

The deaths overnight on Wednesday took this year's road toll in the Hawke's Bay area, from Wairoa District in the north to Tararua District in the south, to 14 - one more than at the same stage last year.​