A man wanted by police has been identified in connection with a triple fatal police pursuit near Nelson.

Lewis Popata, 29, has a warrant out for his arrest after he failed to appear in court, and Fairfax reported police were looking for him when they attempted to stop a vehicle in Richmond prior to the fatal pursuit on March 11.

It is understood Popata was an associate of Phillip Stretch, 33, who was a passenger in the car. Stretch later died after the car crashed while fleeing police on State Highway 6 at Hope, south of Nelson, about 5.40am.

The car's driver, Johnathan Tairakena, and an innocent motorist Carmen Marie Yanko, 53, also died in the crash.

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The car's driver Johnathan Tairakena died in the crash. Photo / Supplied
The car's driver Johnathan Tairakena died in the crash. Photo / Supplied

Tairakena was disqualified from driving at the time and had previous convictions for burglary and theft.

Tasman district commander Superintendent Mike Johnson earlier told media that the chase began after police tried to stop a vehicle while looking for a wanted person.

That person was believed to be Popata, Fairfax reported. Police posted a photo of Popata nine days later on the Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast Police Facebook page.

The post said Nelson Police were seeking to locate Popata, who has a warrant for his arrest after failing to appear in court.

Police refused to confirm whether Popata was involved because the crash was the subject of investigations but confirmed a warrant for his arrest was issued on February 22.

Stretch, the passenger in the fatal crash, also had a previous conviction for killing someone in a vehicle accident.

He was sentenced to 18 months in jail for killing a passenger, 19-year-old Jamie Kelly, in a 2001 crash.

Stretch was 17 at the time and was driving at speeds of up to 140km/h. He had been drinking bourbon and was six times the legal alcohol limit.

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Phillip Stretch, a passenger in the vehicle, was also killed. He is believed to have been an associate of Lewis Popata. Photo / Facebook
Phillip Stretch, a passenger in the vehicle, was also killed. He is believed to have been an associate of Lewis Popata. Photo / Facebook