The person who died in a South Island road accident has been named as Boney Biju, an Indian national who had just celebrated his 21st birthday with friends.

The Indian Weekender said the chef was on his way home from his own party when his car left the road and struck a tree near Hanmer Springs early on Christmas Eve.

A second man from Germany was critically injured in the smash.

The Weekender said Biju was in New Zealand on a work-visa after shifting here from Kochi.


The Indian High Commission was in touch with family in India arranging to have his body flown home.

The provisional holiday road toll now stands at five.

The latest death happened hours before Christmas Day when a woman was killed in a three car smash on SH5 near Hamurana in Rotorua.

Four people were taken to Rotorua Hospital with serious and moderate injuries after the vehicles collided near Oturoa Rd around 9.15pm.

Earlier in the evening a person died in a motorcycle accident on a private property in Charleston, Buller.

But as that accident did not happen on a road the death is not counted in the official toll.

A person was killed earlier in the day on Pourerere Rd in central Hawke's Bay after a car rolled down a bank.

The passenger died at the scene but the driver escaped with minor injuries.


The second victim in this year's holiday road toll was Fijian national Lalita Devi who was a passenger in a car that crashed on SH14 at Maungatapere on Saturday.

Taxi driver Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed, 29, was the first to die within the road toll period.

He died on Symonds St in central Auckland when his car was hit by another while he was on duty.

So far this year 372 people have died on New Zealand roads, the highest number since 2010.

The Christmas holiday road toll period began at 4pm on Friday and ends on January 3 at 6am.