A 46-year-old man has been charged in relation to a fatal crash in which three men died on State Highway 2 near Pikowai.

The man will appear at Whakatane District Court on Tuesday March 26.

Four trucks were involved in the crash, which happened last month.

The three people who died in the crash and two others who were injured were all working for contracting firm Higgins.

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They were clearing a culvert by the side of the road and were hit by a truck.

Three men were killed in the crash: Haki Hika, left, David Eparaima and Dudley Soul Raroa. Photo / Supplied
Three men were killed in the crash: Haki Hika, left, David Eparaima and Dudley Soul Raroa. Photo / Supplied

Police would like to thank members of the public for information provided during this investigation.

"Our thoughts are with the deceaseds' whanau and friends," police said.

A man who was fishing at Pikowai Beach when the crash happened said he heard the sirens first.

"I came out to have a look. It was damage everywhere," said the man.

Higgins workers were sitting on the side of the road "in shock".

A paraglider flying over the crash site caught a photo of the carnage from above. Photo / Supplied
A paraglider flying over the crash site caught a photo of the carnage from above. Photo / Supplied

Trustpower TECT Tauranga Rescue Helicopter pilot Todd Dunham, who flew the man to Tauranga Hospital, said the "horrific" crash scene was one of the worst and "most chaotic" he had seen in his nine years flying for the service.

Dunham said three road workers were hit by a "truck coming down the road and now they've lost their lives".

He said the truck that appeared to have hit the road workers also struck a Higgins truck, tipping it upside down into a ditch.

The other truck that had been "opened up like a can of sardines" was also in the ditch.

Ross Taylor, the chief executive of Higgins' parent company Fletcher Building, said at the time that two of those who died were employed by Higgins and one was a contractor working for the company, while the two injured people were contractors.

"This is an absolute tragedy, and we are moving to offer our support to those affected and to our people in the area."

Emergency services on the scene of the State Highway 2 crash near Matata that killed three people. Photo / George Novak
Emergency services on the scene of the State Highway 2 crash near Matata that killed three people. Photo / George Novak