Two people have died and 13 people have been injured in three crashes on Good Friday.

One person has died in a single vehicle crash in Methven, near Christchurch, this morning and another person has died after a van carrying seven people crashed near Cromwell, in Otago this afternoon.

North of Gisborne, seven people were also injured - two critically - when two cars collided near Te Karaka this morning.

Children injured in crash following police pursuit


Southern Police Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said one person died when the van crashed on Luggate-Cromwell Rd shortly after midday.

"It appears there were seven occupants have been in the van when it has crashed with one person having died at the scene," he said.

The van, believed to be a Toyota Hiace, ended up down a bank after leaving the highway just past a tight corner at Queensberry.

Emergency services have freed two trapped occupants. The remaining occupants were able to remove themselves from the vehicle and were treated by ambulance staff.

"Police will begin a serious crash investigation into the cause of the crash," Mr Benn said.

The road is currently closed in both directions, with diversions in place and motorists should expect delays.

St John spokesman Ian Henderson said three ambulances, a rapid response vehicle and two rescue choppers were sent to the scene. One patient was deceased on arrival, two patients had serious injuries, two had moderate injuries and one had minor injuries.

The two serious patients were flown to Dunedin Hospital and the others taken by ambulance to Dunedin Hospital.


State Highway 2 Matawai Rd north of Gisborne has been re-opened after two cars collided there about 10.45am.

Fire crews from Te Karaka and Gisborne were called to the scene. Photo / Paul Rickard, Gisborne Herald
Fire crews from Te Karaka and Gisborne were called to the scene. Photo / Paul Rickard, Gisborne Herald

It's been revealed a police pursuit was underway just before the head-on collision.

Seven people were injured in the crash and transported to Gisborne Hospital. One remains in a serious condition while the six others are stable.

A 4-year-old and a 7-year-old were among those injured.

Police confirmed that moments before the crash a car had begun chasing one of the cars after it was noticed to be speeding.

"Within seconds of the officer initiating the pursuit, the vehicle has crashed into another vehicle further down the road," a police statement said.

Seven people were injured in the head-on collision near Gisborne. Photo / Paul Rickard, Gisborne Herald
Seven people were injured in the head-on collision near Gisborne. Photo / Paul Rickard, Gisborne Herald

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has also been notified.

Eastern Police Senior Sergeant David Sutherland said there was four people in one car and three in the other.

"We sent a number of resources to the scene, including three ambulances and a rescue helicopter from Gisborne," he said.

A Fire Service spokesman said crews from Te Karaka and Gisborne went to the scene.

He said one patient was a child and two patients were trapped on arrival, but were freed by fire fighters.

Mr Henderson said an ambulance was also dispatched to the fatal crash in Methven, but the patient was deceased so not transported.

St John was alerted at 9.11am, he said.

There was only one occupant in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

There are also reports of traffic delays around the country as motorists head away for the long weekend, and damage from this week's wild weather is repaired.

According to the NZTA website, more than 80 warnings are in place on roads around the country for road works and repairs.

Traffic congestion on both sides of Auckland is reported to be clearing after build ups this morning, especially on the Southern Motorway at Greenlane and Takanini after a crashes there.

There were also reports of heavy congestion north of Auckland between Orewa and Warkworth, with motorists urged to take an alternate route on State Highway 16.

Fog warnings are in place around Wellington on the Rimutaka Hill, but reports say the conditions are clearing.