A woman killed when her car and a logging truck collided was a rising young leader in her East Coast community - and was pregnant with her first child.

Erica Lynne Delany Jones has been described by family and friends as a "special person, so beautiful, selfless, talented and humble".

Her family revealed in a death notice in the Gisborne Herald that she was pregnant.

Jones, the sole occupant of her car, was killed when the vehicle and a logging truck collided shortly before 8.30am on Saturday on State Highway 35 on the Tatapouri side of Makorori Hill.

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An emergency services spokesman said the two vehicles collided head-on.

"The truck was heading towards Gisborne and Miss Jones was heading up the East Coast.

"She was the only occupant of her vehicle."

State Highway 35 was closed and police launched a serious crash inquiry.

Broadcaster and family member Matai Smith has described Jones on social media as "someone so special, so vivacious, so giving, so selfless, so loving, so talented, so humble, so beautiful and so young".

"You [Erica] still had a whole lot more to give us, your whanau, your iwi and the greater world to help make it a better place as you have always done.

"I think of how blessed we were to have you as part of our world, how you always lit the darkest room up with your mere presence, that smile that laugh, that banter.

"How nothing was ever too much of a task for you. You always took on whatever you were tasked with doing or organising with the utmost confidence and professionalism.

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"From dealing with iwi leaders to dignitaries, to our own nannies and koroua back home, your people skills were a reflection of your upbringing and the morals and values instilled into you by your grandparents and parents," Smith's Facebook post said.

From her early years brought up at Manutuke, Jones was involved in kapa haka, and on through her high school years to the Tamararo and Te Matatini stages.

Tairāwhiti Museum director Eloise Wallace told Stuff the Tairāwhiti community was still in "absolute shock".

"We've worked with Erica on different projects, not as a member of staff but she's been one of those people who's worked within her iwi and as an intern at Te Papa.

"We've had many associations with Erica and just last week on Thursday she was at the museum with other members of Tāmanuhiri - one of the iwi here - to open an area of one of our galleries with resources around the Horouta waka."