A 34-year-old woman died when the Mitsubishi hatchback car in which she was a passenger and a Mitsubishi Triton ute collided on SH10 just south of Mangonui on Tuesday morning.

The woman, whose name has yet to be released by police, and the 37-year-old driver of the car, who was taken to Kaitaia Hospital by ambulance with serious injuries, were believed to be South Islanders who were holidaying in the Far North.

Police, St John and the Mangonui Fire Brigade responded to the crash just after 10am, finding the ute on its roof in the northbound lane and the hatchback off the road on the other side.

The passenger in the hatchback, the front left corner of which appeared to have taken the brunt of the impact, died at the scene, while the driver of the ute, who was able to get out of the cab unaided, escaped with minor injuries. Cement, tools and building equipment were scattered across the road where the ute had rolled on to its roof.

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Sergeant Kevin Anderson said the crash was still being investigated, but it appeared that one of the vehicles had crossed on to the wrong side of the road. A member of the police Serious Crash Unit and a detective from the Kaitaia CIB were at the scene to investigate, while a local man told the Northern Advocate he always slowed on that section because it was notorious for drivers cutting the corner.

The ute driver, from Doubtless Bay, was taken to the Kaitaia police station where he was helping with enquiries.

The crash blocked the highway for just over two hours, light traffic being diverted via Back River and Oruru roads, but heavy vehicles having to wait for one lane to open just after midday.

Mangonui firefighters used cutting equipment to remove a door and the roof from the hatchback. Northland's road toll for the now stands at 6, and the Far North's 2.