The devastated family of the teenage passenger killed in a crash in rural central Hawkes Bay last night said they had warned him about taking risks in cars.

Matthew Drummond, 16, died when the car he and three school friends were riding in crashed on Charlotte St in Takapau about 7pm.

The family was still in shock about the sudden loss of an "awesome kid", who they had warned many times to take care in cars, said his uncle Malcolm Drummond .

"It would be good if they listened when you tell them to be careful. I tried. We all tried," he said.


The school friends had spent some of the day together before deciding to go for a drive, said Mr Drummond.

"They got up to a little bit of mischief, a bit of a cruise. That's what teenagers are like."

Matthew, who owned the car, was thrown from the front seat car as it rolled "about four times" and died at the scene, police Sergeant Denis Tatere said.

His father was too upset to comment and the rest of the family were still in shock about the accident, said Mr Drummond.

"It's pretty rough".

The crash happened after the driver oversteered, Senior Constable Corey Ubels said.

"The driver has steered off the road, through a drain, back on the road and the car has tumbled across," he said.

Mr Drummond said his nephew was a good kid, who loved cars and was planning to become an engineer.

The 14-year-old male driver of the car was flown to Hawkes Bay Hospital in the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter with moderate injuries and later discharged.

A boy and girl in the backseat were "shaken up" and suffered minor injuries, Mr Tatere said.

Several residents arrived to comfort the friends and families of the victims last night, some standing in the middle of the road crying while looking back at the wreck of the Holden.

One of the first to the scene was another uncle of the 16-year-old victim - a volunteer fireman who arrived to discover his nephew had died in the crash.

"It's the sort of thing you dread. You go to quite a few accidents and it's normally someone you don't know - but this was a bit close to home," he said.

The boy who died was the son and grandson of two other firemen at the Takapau Volunteer Fire Brigade station.

Fortunately, the boy's father and grandfather were working and unavailable to be called out to the crash, he said.

The man hoped his nephew's death would be a wake-up call for young people in the community to stop messing around in cars.

"It's young people having a bit of fun on the road and it's all gone wrong.

"As with every small town in New Zealand, young teenagers who think they're bullet-proof take out cars to have fun."

However, Mr Drummond was concerned the accident wouldn't prevent similar accidents in the future.

"It might affect the community for a while and then the young fellas do it again."

Police were gathering information from the scene and interviewing witnesses to "piece everything together" and formally determine the cause of the crash, Mr Ubels said.