Three people were killed after being hit by trains yesterday.

The deaths were among eight people killed and 12 injured - two critically - within nine hours on New Zealand roads yesterday.

A person was killed by a train in Hornby, near Christchurch, about 9.30pm yesterday.

The pedestrian was hit by the train near the level crossing on Parker St and died at the scene, a police spokeswoman said.

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Just after 11pm two more people died after being hit by a train in Papakura, South Auckland.

A southbound train, travelling from Papakura to Pukekohe, hit the victims at the railway crossing with Boundary Rd.

Police said both people died as a result of the impact.

The Police Disaster Victim Identification unit was attending the scene to recover the bodies and the incident had been referred to the coroner.

Crashes also claimed the lives of five other people around the country yesterday.

A woman died after three cars collided just north of Towai in Northland about 3pm yesterday.

The three-car crash happened on State Highway 1.

An hour later another person also died after a serious crash on Waimate Highway (SH1) in South Canterbury, involving three vehicles.

Four people were also injured, two moderately and two seriously, in the accident which happened in Morven just after 4pm yesterday.

One of the seriously injured occupants was airlifted to Dunedin Hospital and the other three were taken to Timaru Hospital.

SH1 was closed for several hours.

At 9.10pm a two-car crash in the Buller District claimed another life.

One person was killed and another left in a critical condition after a crash on SH65 near Lewis Pass in the Buller District.

A PBT Transport truck collided with a van at 9.10pm last night.

Canterbury District Health Board said one man was still in a critical condition in Christchurch Hospital this afternoon, and a woman injured in the accident was now in a stable condition.

Police said three others suffered moderate to serious injuries.

The critically injured person was flown to Christchurch Hospital and the other four were also taken to hospital.

The Serious Crash Unit was investigating and police were working to inform next of kin.

Just before midnight, two more people were killed after the car they were travelling in hit a tree in Kumeu, west Auckland.

The single car incident happened on Access Rd.

Another person was left in a critical condition after a single-vehicle crash on SH1 in Te Horo on the Kapati Coast about 10.10pm.