One person has died after a single-car crash on State Highway 1 on the South Island's east coast.

Emergency services were called to the scene of the crash just north of Bushey, Waitaki, about 4.25am.

A Fire and Emergency NZ spokeswoman said firefighters had to cut the person free from the wreckage.

Police have confirmed the sole occupant died at the scene.

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The road was closed, with diversions in place.

H-class vehicles heading north were asked to stop in Palmerston.

The Serious Crash Unit would examine the scene.