A spate of serious crashes around Northland brought the region's first road death of 2018 when a car struck a power pole and flipped south of Kaikohe.

The smash happened just after 9am yesterday on Mangakahia Rd, (State Highway 15), about 30km south of Kaikohe.

Police believe the driver was overtaking near Nukutawhiti, about 3km south of Twin Bridges, when she lost control, hit a power pole and rolled. The late-model Nissan sedan came to rest on its roof beside the road.

The vehicle's sole occupant died at the scene. No alternative routes were available so motorists had to wait about an hour until one lane was reopened.


Senior Sergeant Brian Swann said police believed the southbound driver had been overtaking two vehicles at high speed when she lost control on a mild bend.

The crash left power lines draped across the highway. Northpower staff had to make them safe before emergency crews and the police serious crash unit could get to work.

Kaikohe fire chief Bill Hutchinson said volunteers cut off the roof and a door to extricate the driver. The scene was then blessed by a kaumatua.

Hutchinson said his brigade had been called to increasingly severe crashes since Sunday.

He believed only seatbelts prevented multiple deaths in a crash on Ngapipito Rd, west of Moerewa, about 4pm on Tuesday.

A car had passed a ute at speed on the unsealed road, kicking up a large cloud of dust. The ute and a light truck travelling in the opposite direction collided after the drivers were suddenly unable to see the road.

The impact tore the side off the ute and it rolled several times.

At least four people were in the ute and Hutchinson believed their seatbelts saved them. ''That could've easily ended in multiple fatalities.''


The car did not stop.

Also on Tuesday, about 9.30pm, a car hit a power pole on Pipiwai Rd near Whangarei, bringing down lines and moderately injuring the driver. He was taken to Whangarei Hospital for treatment and blood-alcohol analysis.

About 10.45am an elderly woman fell on Kerikeri Rd, outside the Old Packhouse Market, then about 11.25am a Suzuki motorcycle and a Nissan ute collided a short distance away on Kerikeri Rd.

A St John spokesman said the 45-year-old rider suffered head injuries and a possible broken leg. He was taken by ambulance to the helipad at the Kerikeri Sports Complex, then flown to Whangarei Hospital for a CT scan. He was in a serious but stable condition.

The driver of the ute was shaken but unhurt.

Kerikeri Senior Constable Rob Drummond said it appeared the rider had tried to overtake the ute as it was turning right into a driveway. The ute was indicating at the time.

He urged motorists to take extra care and drive defensively, particularly with lots of out-of-towners and tourists on the road.

Northland's head of road policing, Inspector Wayne Ewers, said speed was a factor in yesterday's fatal crash.

''Keep to the speed limit, wear your seatbelt. The rules are there for a reason, to keep us safe. We've got wet weather coming so if it's pouring with rain just be patient and slow down 10 or 15km/h, you'll still get there and you'll get there alive,'' he said.

Police are contacting the dead woman's family before releasing her name.

Last year 40 people died on Northland's roads.