Police are appealing for witnesses following a crash that left one person dead and at least three others injured in a four-vehicle pileup north of Hamilton.

Inspector Marcus Lynam, Waikato Road Policing Manager said the fatal crash near Taupiri happened on State Highway 1 just before 2pm.

"Initial inquiries indicate a small car entered the northbound lane following a nose-to-tail in the southbound lane and was then struck by a ute towing a trailer," Lynam said.

A 70-year-old passenger in the car died at the scene. The car's driver and an infant, as well as two people from other vehicles, were taken to Waikato hospital with moderate to serious injuries.

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Emergency services rushed to the serious crash on SH1B in Taupiri at 1.57pm.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said they had to free a person who had been trapped after the crash.

The Waikato Serious Crash Unit is examining the scene and wants to hear from any witnesses.

People with information are asked to call Detective Richelle Brownlie on (07) 870 7057.

"Police extend their sympathies to the families of those involved," Lynam added.