A 53-year-old man is the latest fatality on Northland's roads after the vehicle he was driving and a truck travelling in the opposite direction collided on State Highway 1.

The crash closed the highway for nearly six hours on Wednesday with traffic being diverted through Waipū township.

Emergency services were called to the scene just after 9am.

Inspector Wayne Ewers said it appeared a north-bound four-wheel-drive crossed the centre line and collided with a south-bound New World truck and trailer unit.


Ewers said it was not clear why the car crossed the road and the police serious crash unit would investigate. The 4WD ended up crashed into a fence off the south-bound lane.

The truck driver was uninjured, despite the vehicle jack-knifing and going through a farm fence before ending up in a paddock off the north-bound lane.

A heavy haulage truck from Auckland was used to get the crashed truck unit back on the road.

An iwi liaison officer was called to bless the scene and SH1 was reopened about 2.45pm

The fatality follows another crash on SH1 south of Whangārei on Saturday which claimed the life of tattooist David Hart, 45, who had his tangi at Pipiwai on Wednesday.

Wednesday's crash brings Northland's road toll for the year to 22, compared to 40 for the whole of last year. It took until July 13 for the road toll to reach 20 last year.

Northland Regional Transport Committee chairman John Bain said the fatality was a tragedy and a very sad day for someone's family.

The spiralling road toll was a concern and he said last year 40 road deaths in Northland last year contributed to 12 per cent of New Zealand's road toll.

"It's a fatal crash rate we shouldn't be proud of.''

Bain said the Regional Transport Committee was going into discussions with the NZ Transport Authority to work on how to make the stretch of road south of Whangārei safer.