One person has died after a car and truck collided in the early morning on State Highway 1 in Canterbury, south of Christchurch.

The crash has temporarily closed the highway with a detour route now in place for motorists.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) was called initially to investigate the serious crash at 3.13am in the small settlement of Dunsandel.

Police took over as lead of the investigation once the extent of the crash was understood and it was confirmed someone had died, a Fenz spokesman said.

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The deceased was the sole occupant of the car.

The town is about 40km southwest of Christchurch, or around a 40-minute drive by car.

A detour route is currently in place with southbound motorists asked to turn onto Frasers Rd, then onto Irvines Rd, onto Sheats Rd and back to SH1.

Northbound motorists were asked turn left onto Sheats Rd, onto Old South Rd, onto Hororata Dunsandel Rd and back to SH1.