Three people have been injured, one critically, after a car and school bus collided in north Taranaki this morning.

Senior Sergeant Fiona Prestidge, of New Plymouth police, said the accident happened at 7.30am on State Highway 3, about 3km north of Mokau.

There were five children aged between 11 and 16 on the bus which was heading to Piopio. Neither the bus driver nor the children were injured.

Ms Prestidge said she understood the car had lost control, crossed the road, hit a bank, and bounced back into the path of the bus.

The car ended up about 6m down a bank.

The three people in car, all believed to be Aucklanders in their 60s, were injured.

The critically injured occupant was flown to Taranaki Base Hospital by helicopter and admitted to the intensive care unit. The two other occupants were taken to hospital by ambulance.

- NZPA