Four families will be "broken forever", a top road cop says as the Queen's Birthday road toll last night almost equalled last year's toll - barely one day into the long weekend.
In 2015 five people died on our roads during Queen's Birthday weekend. By 6pm yesterday - just over 24 hours since the weekend's official road toll period began - four had lost their lives.
National Road Policing Manager Superintendent Steve Greally pleaded with motorists to "do the right thing".
"Every person is so important and that is just tragic. There is nothing that can replace that person.
"That's a family broken forever," Greally said.
"The crashes we are having are needless, more often than not these crashes are happening because someone has made a mistake."
Safety messages were not getting through, he said.
"If you're good enough to understand the safety rules [when you're sitting your licence] then you should be good enough to practise those rules every day. It's the hardest thing in the world to tell a person their family member is dead."
A person was killed in a three-vehicle crash on SH1 at Greta Valley, between Christchurch and Kaikoura, last night.
Four others were hurt in the 6pm crash, which involved a truck and two other vehicles.
About two hours earlier a motorcyclist died after hitting a parked vehicle at speed on Castlebane Drive in the Auckland suburb of Flat Bush.
A 64-year-old Kaikoura man was the first road death this holiday weekend. He was killed and several others, including a pregnant woman, were badly injured in the four-car crash on SH1 north of Dunedin just before 6pm on Friday.
The second death occurred early yesterday when two cars collided on SH 3 near Te Kuiti. Two others were injured, one seriously.
Police were last night appealing for witnesses to the crash, or those in the area at time the crash occurred at Tanehopuwai between 5am and 5.30am.
Information can be reported to Constable Corley at Otorohanga Police on (07) 858 6200, or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.