A bus accident which left 19 people injured after the vehicle crashed in Manawatū this afternoon is the same model as the one involved in a fatal accident on Mt Ruapehu on Saturday.
The Herald can also reveal the 1991 Fuso bus that crashed off the road into a ditch today had failed its warrant of fitness checks eight times since 2006 - most recently in 2013, according to vehicle records.
Today's crash involved an iwi group who had travelled to Parliament.
Fuso is the same brand of bus that crashed on the Tū roa mountain road at the weekend, killing an 11-year-old West Auckland girl.
State Highway 1 was temporarily closed from 4.45pm to 6pm while the bus was recovered from the ditch.
Police said 19 people were on board the bus at the time of the crash - despite initial reports indicating there were 28 people on board.
"Six people were taken to Palmerston North Hospital with moderate injuries.
"The remaining thirteen people were taken to Whanganui Hospital with minor injuries," a spokesperson said.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Team (CVST) is investigating the cause of the crash.
A police spokesman said the bus crashed into a ditch at the intersection of SH1 and Rowe Rd in Rongotea at 2.47pm today.
"There are varying reports of injury statuses and at this stage the number of injuries has not been determined," police said in a statement at the time.
A witness at the scene told the Herald the bus was on its side.
Ngai Te Rangi Iwi chief executive Paora Stanley issued a statement tonight saying "a bus carrying whānau returning from Parliament" was involved in the crash.
The vehicle had been returning to Tauranga from Wellington.
The statement said the injured passengers had been taken to Whanganui and Palmerston North hospitals.
A police officer on the scene said there were 19 people on board the bus, including the driver.
A St John spokeswoman said 17 people were transported to hospital - 13 with minor injuries to Whanganui Hospital and four with minor to serious injuries to Palmerston North Hospital.
A reporter on scene said conditions were "beautiful" and was told by police the bus was heading northbound before ending up in the ditch.
Initial reports from a Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said the Rongotea Fire Brigade said there were 28 people on board.
The reports suggested the bus had tipped upside down, he said.
None of those on board had been trapped but people had suffered mostly moderate and minor injuries, he said. They were being taken to Palmerston North Hospital for treatment.
One person was in a serious condition and was transported to Palmerston North Hospital by ambulance, he said.
A service station worker in Rongotea said earlier that they had seen three police vehicles and a fire truck racing past.
The crash is the second involving a bus in less than a week after an 11-year-old girl died on Mount Ruapehu on Saturday.
Hannah Francis was killed when the bus crashed while descending the mountain. Passengers on the bus said its brakes appeared to have failed.
The 1994 Mitsubishi Fuso bus involved in that crash had failed nine Certificate of Fitness inspections between 2005 and 2016, and at the end of May this year had recorded 277,885km traveled.
Ross Copland, Chief Executive of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) is hoping passengers on the bus involved in the accident at the weekend will make contact.
"Our priority this week has been connecting with everyone on that bus however privacy restrictions have made this a challenge. We would like to ensure that passengers are on the road to recovery, well supported and also keep them updated with the investigation that's underway," Ross says.
While the investigation continues Mt Ruapehu has outsourced its transport and suspended its own transport service.
Meanwhile, police are urging New Zealand motorists to take extra care on the roads during winter.
National manager of road policing, Superintendent Steve Greally wants to remind drivers to be "vigilant this winter about driving to the conditions".
"We want people to be aware they could encounter snow, ice, flooding, or high winds, and remember it's vital they adjust to these conditions.
"You need to put the safety of yourself and your passengers first," Greally said.
Winter driving tips from the NZ Transport Agency
• Avoid travel in bad weather if you can. Allow extra time if your travel can't be delayed.
• If driving a long way, take regular breaks and share the driving where you can.
• Plan to drive during daylight hours when visibility is better and hazards like ice and snow are less likely. These hazards rapidly multiply at night.
• Avoid sudden braking or turning that could cause you to skid. Accelerate and brake gently. Use your highest gear travelling uphill and your lowest downhill.
• Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle in case of diversions or road closures.