One person is dead and nine vehicles are damaged after a van collided with a truck and trailer unit in south Waikato this afternoon.

The impact - at 2.35pm on State Highway One, Putaruru - sent the bulk cement truck crashing into a distribution centre where it collided with another seven vehicles.

The male driver of the van died en route to Waikato Hospital.

The driver of the truck was not injured, but is shaken and is being supported by his employer.

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State Highway One was closed for two hours while police conducted a scene examination.

"This crash highlights the need for people to wear their seatbelts when travelling, even on very short trips,'' Senior Sergeant Fane Troy of the Taupo Road Policing Group said.

The Taupo Serious Crash Unit is investigating the cause of the crash.

Alcohol and speed are not believed to be factors, and road and weather conditions at the time were fine, police said.

Speed limit in the area is 70km/h.

The name of the dead man will be released once family have been advised.