Police have named the man who died in a head-on collision on Sunday night near Dunsandel, Canterbury.

He was 20-year-old Finlay William Dunning who lived in the Methven area, police said.

The incident occurred on State Highway 1 Main Road South near Dunsandel at 5pm last night.

Sergeant Franco Lovrich said the head-on collision occurred after a north-bound Toyota Surf appears to have collided with the driver's side of a south-bound Subaru driven by Mr Dunning.

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Three men from the Toyota were injured in the crash and were taken to Christchurch Hospital by ambulance. They were kept overnight while their injuries were assessed.

"Finlay was the driver and sole occupant of the Subaru," Mr Lovrich said.

The death has been referred to the coroner and Canterbury police investigations into the crash are continuing.

Police and victim support were working with Mr Dunning's family, he said.