Police have named the two people who died in a crash on State Highway 5 at Rangataiki on Monday.

They were 29-year-old Leo Thomas Chittenden from Napier, and 11-year-old boy Te Whararere Hunuhunu from Opotiki.

Inquiries into the circumstances of the crash are ongoing.

The pair died after a "head on" crash near near Rangitaiki School and Matea Rd. It was the first of a flurry of seven crashes on the Napier-Taupo Road over Christmas, which left at least eight people injured.

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A Rangitaiki Tavern worker said occupants from a car who witnessed the crash rushed to their pub to use the phone to call emergency services.

The crash happened near the tavern and there was no mobile phone reception out there, she said at the time.

The eyewitnesses had come in looking frantic, she said.