Three people have been killed and one child is critically injured after a car smashed into a tree near Whananaki, in Northland, early on Sunday.

Emergency services were called to the scene - on Whananaki North Rd - at 2.15am.

A police spokeswoman said three people had died, and a child is in a critical condition, after a single-vehicle crash on Whananaki North Rd, near Whangarei, earlier this morning.

"A fifth occupant of the vehicle received minor injuries."


The road was closed overnight while police conducted a scene examination.

It has since reopened.

An investigation is under way to establish the circumstances of the collision.

One nearby resident told the Herald Whananaki North Rd was notorious for young people doing burnouts and driving in a dangerous manner.

"It's a very narrow and windy road, so easy to lose control if you are driving too fast. It's a sealed road which is why people seem to like doing burnouts."

The resident stressed he did not see this accident and did not know the circumstances around what caused the crash.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) spokeswoman said two of its trucks were at the scene, each with four firefighters.

"All we can say at this stage is we are attending a serious crash where a car has crashed into a tree. It's quite a remote area," the spokeswoman said.


St John was also called to scene.

It follows a horror 24 hours on Waikato roads where four people have been killed after three separate crashes.

In the deadliest single crash, two people lost their lives in a crash on Cambridge Rd, in Leamington, south of Cambridge, about 6pm on Saturday.

However, a baby survived the crash, which involved a small logging truck and another vehicle.

Gavin Collinson, who lives near the crash scene, told Stuff he saw a crying baby covered in what looked like grease and still in its car seat, following the crash.

Earlier, a person died in a two-vehicle crash in Tahuna, 18km north of Morrinsville.


Police were alerted just after 10.30am yesterday to the crash on Morrinsville-Tahuna Rd, in which four others suffered minor to moderate injuries.

And on Saturday night a fourth person died when their vehicle crashed into a power pole on State Highway 25 near Pipiroa, 15km south-west of Thames.

The person, who was the sole occupant, died at the scene.