A teenage girl killed alongside two young friends in a "preventable" early morning crash has been remembered in an emotional tribute urging other drivers to take care.
"You were an absolutely beautiful girl," the Facebook post reads. "You were so young and had your entire life ahead of you. It goes to show how quickly anything can happen on the roads."
Police say speed was a key factor in the crash which claimed the trio's lives in Canterbury about 2.20am yesterday. The 14-year-old driver was unlicensed and police said the five young occupants shouldn't have been in the car.
Eight people have now died on the roads during the Christmas holiday road toll period compared to just three on Boxing Day last year.
Yesterday morning's triple fatality occurred when the vehicle rolled, became airborne and slammed into trees on the corner of Harts and Southbridge Sedgemere Rds in Leeston.
A young woman and two young men died in the crash. The 14-year-old driver was seriously injured, while another 14-year-old boy, the only member of the group wearing a seat belt, suffered minor injuries and was able to crawl from the mangled wreck and raise the alarm.
The emotional online tribute also warns other young drivers to slow down and heed licensing restrictions to prevent further carnage.
"There is a reason for the curfew on restricted drivers, and a reason for the supervisor with learner drivers, and a reason you are not supposed to drive if you hold no license at all. I am so sorry this had to happen, how easily it could have been avoided."
Police have not released the ages of the dead, but said they were all young.
Canterbury district road policing manager Inspector Al Stewart labelled the accident a "preventable tragedy".
"The car was travelling well in excess of the posted speed limit.
"The young driver shouldn't have had access to the car. He's picked up his mates and travelled far too fast through an intersection."
There were no indications at the scene that alcohol was a factor in the crash. It was too early to say if any charges would be laid.
Stewart urged motorists to drive to the speed limit and wear seatbelts.
"The real tragedy here is the crash was preventable and the deaths around this crash were certainly preventable.
"It's not rocket science. It's simple, wear your seat belt; it will save your life."
The Serious Crash Unit was investigating the crash and police were contacting the victims' next of kin.
A fatal crash in Manawatu yesterday evening brought the holiday road toll to eight.
A motorcycle collided with a car on Napier Rd in Ashhurst, just northwest of Palmerston North, about 5.45pm.
The Serious Crash Unit was investigating. Cordons were in place and police asked motorists to take alternative routes.
Meanwhile, police said they were disappointed at the dangerous driving they had seen in the past couple of days elsewhere.
This included an Auckland driver stopped on Christmas night who was almost six times the drink-drive limit.
The driver was a man in his 50s who was stopped while on his way home near Mercer, south of Auckland, after police received calls from concerned motorists about his driving.
The man will appear in court later this month.
"People are unnecessarily putting themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk in what is already a high risk time on our roads," said Sergeant Mark Fleming, of Counties Manukau Police.
"We don't want to have to break this news to anyone else that their loved ones aren't coming home."
The first death of the Christmas road toll period, was Myung Wha Lim, 83, who died after being hit by a car on Taharoto Rd, Takapuna shortly before 7pm on Friday.
Clifford Irving, 66, from Lower Hutt, died following a collision between a motorcycle and a ute on State Highway 2 in South Wairarapa on Christmas evening.
The bus was carrying a brass band from Mailefihi Siuʻilikutapu College in Tonga, which was touring New Zealand as part of a fundraiser.
The toll does not include a 2-year-old girl killed in a driveway incident yesterday in Te Kauwhata in the Waikato.
Investigations would determine whether the death was included in the official holiday toll.
The official holiday road toll period began at 4pm on Friday and runs until 6am on January 4.
Last year's Christmas road toll was 12, from 244 reported injury crashes.