Police have named three English tourists who died in a crash in Christchurch last night.

They wer e Sera Eades, 60, her granddaughter Iva Harper, three, and their cousin Valerie Susan Bryan, 68.

Mrs Eades' husband, Michael Eades, had been driving the car, which collided with a power pole in Christchurch suburb New Brighton about 6.20pm.

He was today in a stable condition in Christchurch Public Hospital, Detective Sergeant Andrew Fabish, of New Brighton police, said.

The family were from Derbyshire, England. Mrs Bryan was from the village of Castle Donnington.

They arrived in New Zealand a few days ago for a holiday to visit family, Mr Fabish said.

Funeral arrangements were being made with family and the United Kingdom High Commission.

The deaths had been referred to the coroner.

Police believed fatigue was the likely cause of the crash.

"We think it was fatigue because it was a beautiful evening in Christchurch, it's spring here so the conditions were very clear," a police spokeswoman told The Times newspaper.

- NZPA