The driver of a car involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle on State Highway 30 yesterday afternoon was a 13-year-old in a stolen car.

Two 16-year-olds were also in the car, which had been stolen from Tokoroa a couple of days earlier and was later seen in Kawerau.

Kawerau Senior Sergeant Al Fenwick said a member of the Kawerau community called police after becoming concerned about how the car was being driven.

"We learned at that time the car had been reported stolen," Mr Fenwick said. "Our officer caught up with the car on State Highway 30 shortly before Rotoiti and activated his lights."


He said the driver of the car did not stop and attempted to overtake a logging truck on a blind corner.

"The pursuit was stopped but in the ensuing seconds, the driver collided head-on with another car."

The driver of the second car, an Eastern Bay farmer, and his elderly mother, suffered moderate injuries and were taken by St John Ambulance to Rotorua Hospital.

The three teens in the stolen car received minor injuries.

"The people in the second car were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Mr Fenwick said.

He thanked the Kawerau community for alerting police to the stolen car.

"We need help from the public to get people like this off the road. They put all other road users in danger."

Senior Sergeant Dennis Murphy of the Rotorua police said all three teenagers were from Rotorua. The 16-year-olds were released into the care of family members while the 13-year-old was kept in custody to appear in the Rotorua Youth Court today.