The mayors of Kapiti and Horowhenua have issued a joint plea for the Government to step in over a road they're calling a "killing field".

It follows two fatal crashes on the stretch of State Highway 1 south of Levin in the space of a few hours on Tuesday.

Wendy Kauwhata, 54, died at the scene of the two-car crash at about 4.50pm on SH1 south of the Horowhenua town yesterday afternoon. Her partner, Colin Kauwhata, was in an induced coma while a 15-year-old boy who was also in the car needed surgery for two broken femurs.

Levin social worker Wendy Kauwhata. Photo / Supplied
Levin social worker Wendy Kauwhata. Photo / Supplied

About 7km south of the crash, another person died in a separate incident at about 7.10pm involving a car and a truck north of the intersection of Waikawa Beach Rd and SH1.


Kapiti mayor K Gurunathan and Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen were seeking an urgent meeting with senior NZTA officials to make safety changes before there were more deaths.

"These recent tragic accidents continue the observation of former coroner Philip Comber who noted that, over the past 25 years, the roads had become 'a killing field marked like a battlefield with white crosses'," Gurunathan said.

People in Ōtaki were vulnerable because they were forced to travel north to Levin and Palmerston North for access to a lot of their services, he said.

Kapiti mayor K. Gurunathan. Photo / File
Kapiti mayor K. Gurunathan. Photo / File

"Ōtaki residents rushing to access health services have to negotiate this killing field."

Feyen said State Highway 1 was a killer highway.

"This stretch of road is infamous for accidents and we have had a diabolical last two weeks and the amount of grief that brings to our whole district is immense."

The pair want safety improvements to be done with urgency and a clear start date for work to begin.

Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen. Photo / File
Horowhenua mayor Michael Feyen. Photo / File

Horowhenua police have also issued a statement encouraging road users to report dangerous driving.

Senior Sergeant Sam Gilpin urged drivers to take responsibility for their driving and the safety of their passengers and other road users.

"The actions you take as a driver don't only impact on you but on all the road users around you, and potentially those road users' families and friends.

"While police are committed to reducing death and injury on our roads we cannot do it alone.

"If you see any dangerous driving that could put lives at risk, please pull over to a safe spot and call 111."