A teenager has died in a crash while driving unlicensed and with a passenger in the Bay of Plenty.

Police said a "cocktail of ingredients" contributed to the accident, which included alcohol, speed, inexperience and failure to drive to the conditions.

The car left the road near Matata, north-west of Whakatane, at about 12.10am today .

Ray Wylie of Whakatane Police Traffic Unit said the 15-year-old male driver was killed when the vehicle collided with several large rocks.

The passenger suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Whakatane Hospital.

Mr Wylie said there had been eight fatalities in the eastern Bay of Plenty this year and this was the fifth time alcohol had been a significant factor.

"Motorists need to heed previous warnings that drinking and driving is likely to result in severe consequences."

Police said a serious crash unit was investigating and the deceased's name would be released once his family had been contacted.

- NZPA