An American tourist who died in a car crash near Whitianga on Monday has been named by police.

He was Mark Savage, 58, from Washington State. His American partner was still being treated in Thames Hospital and had undergone surgery, Constable Jonathan Clark told NZPA. The driver of the second car was airlifted to Auckland Hospital. His condition was not known.

The crash happened on State Highway 25 near Whitianga at 12.26pm on Monday.

Mr Clark said that police had spoken to several witnesses but appealed for any others to come forward.

"We're particularly keen to hear from the driver and occupants of an 8m-long blue bus who we believe were in the vicinity," he said.