Two people are in a critical condition after two separate crashes within minutes of each other on the same stretch of Waikato road.

Northern fire communications shift manager Scott Osmond said the first crash occurred about 5km south of Matamata at the intersection State Highway 27 and Puketutu Rd.

The crash involved a van and one person was currently in a critical condition.

The second crash occurred about 10 minutes later, also on Puketutu Rd, as firefighters were responding to the first crash.

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That occurred at the intersection with State Highway 29.

Osmond said one occupant was still trapped in the car suffering critical injuries.

Two others had minor injuries.

Diversions were in place for both crashes and motorists were asked to avoid the area if possible.