A passenger seriously injured in a head-on crash which killed two of his companions has been moved out of intensive care as he recovers in Whangarei Hospital.

It is understood the man, who was a back-seat passenger in a Subaru involved in Monday night's collision on State Highway 10 with a people-mover driven by a United States tourist, was transferred to a general ward on Tuesday afternoon.

A fourth occupant of the Subaru received minor injuries and was treated at Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa.

The 22-year-old driver of the rented people-mover had a suspected broken nose while his female passenger, 20, suffered broken bones in one hand. They stayed in Bay of Islands Hospital overnight for observation.


The driver of the Subaru and his front-seat passenger, aged 24 and 26 and from the Kerikeri and Kaeo areas, died despite the efforts of emergency services.

They were named by police as Yvarn Manaia Te Pania, 24, and James Alexander Hamiora, 26, from Northland.

The driver of the people-mover is due to appear in the Kaikohe District Court tomorrow on two charges of careless driving causing death.

The people-mover was heading north and the Subaru south when they collided about 11.20pm on Monday south of Bulls Gorge, near Kerikeri, just north of Puketona Junction.

Investigators from the police serious crash unit were back at the scene of the crash yesterday to finish their site survey in daylight.

The double fatality pushes Northland's road toll for the year so far to 17, more than double the toll at the same time last year.

Only Canterbury and Waikato have a higher toll.