One person is dead and two are in a serious condition after a crash outside a petrol station south of Rotorua today.

Part of State Highway 1 near Atiamuri is shut off for several hours as emergency services work to clear the scene.

The road is not expected to reopen until about 11.30 tonight.

A police spokesman said a fourth person was in a moderate condition.

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A rescue helicopter was used to transport the injured to nearby hospitals and diversions were in place on Humphrey Rd and State Highway 30, he said.

Earlier, a police spokeswoman said it appeared a person had been thrown from a vehicle in the two-car crash, near State Highway 30.

The Serious Crash Unit was called in to work out how the crash happened.

Emergency services were notified at 4.55pm.

- Rotorua Daily Post