A man who died at the scene of a serious crash in Northland was an English tourist who had just arrived in the country with his wife and was starting a six-week holiday, police say.

Police said David Banks, 64, died after a two-car collision near the intersections of Totara Rd and State Highway 1, near Oakleigh, about 2pm on Wednesday.

Sergeant Simon Craig said Mr Banks and his 61-year-old wife had flown from Australia and arrived in Auckland about 4am on Wednesday, and were on their way to the Bay of Islands.

"They had been in Australia for 10 days, they had family there and had planned to tour New Zealand for six weeks. The wife is absolutely distraught, they have no family in New Zealand," he said.

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The couple's rental car collided with a southbound vehicle occupied by three people, all from Auckland. Both Mr Banks and the driver of the southbound vehicle were cut from the vehicles by firefighters.

Mr Craig said Mr Banks' wife suffered minor injuries and as of yesterday she was in hospital in a stable condition.

The occupants of the other vehicle were also injured and the driver had been released from hospital.

Mr Craig said police were still investigating the cause of the crash and both vehicles were being examined.