State Highway 1 in Northland has reopened three hours after two people suffered life-threatening injuries in a two-car crash.

Firefighters had to free at least two people from the wreckage of their vehicles following the crash north of Whangarei, a police spokeswoman said.

The vehicles collided about 1.5km north of Hikurangi at around 7.50am.

A third person was seriously injured while several others had minor injuries, Fire and Emergency NZ reported to police.

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The Serious Crash Unit has been advised.

The road has now fully reopened, the NZTA said, after earlier warning drivers to expect delays.