A Palmerston North man has been named as the victim of a fatal crash in Central Hawke's Bay early on Thursday night.

He was 79-year-old Desmond Garth Strong, the sole occupant of a vehicle which collided with an oncoming vehicle just south of the State Highway 50 intersection with State Highway 2 on the Takapau Plains.

Police extended sympathies to his family and friends, who according to a family notice include his wife, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His funeral will be held in Palmerston North on Wednesday.

The crash on State Highway 2 happened about 5.50pm on Thursday, about 80 metres south of the intersection and about 20km southwest of Waipukurau.

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The sole occupant of the second vehicle, a man aged in his 50s, was flown to hospital in Hastings by rescue helicopter and was reported today to be in a stable condition.

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Police said on Friday they were seeking witnesses, including anyone who had driven past the crash or seen a white-coloured light truck near the major highways' intersection.

Anyone with information should contact police by phone 105, quoting job number 200731/0601. Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestopper on 0800 555 111.

It was the second fatality on Hawke's Bay roads in less than a week, following that of a man aged in his 20s on Raukawa Rd early on the afternoon of Saturday, July 25.

According to online statistics it was the first in the Central Hawke's Bay District this year, and took the provisional toll in the Eastern Police District (CHB to East Cape) to 16, which despite the March 25-April 27 Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown which removed most traffic from the highways, is five more than for January 1-July 30 last year.