Every loss of life is a tragedy, police say, as they beg the public to take better care on the roads.
A baby remains in a critical condition after a crash near Cambridge that is understood to have killed both his parents on Saturday - two of eight deaths on New Zealand roads over the weekend.
The crash, which happened on Cambridge Rd in Leamington about 6pm on Saturday, involved a ute and a logging truck.
Following the horror weekend on the roads - five of the eight deaths occurred in Waikato while the other three were from a single-vehicle crash in Northland - Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter has cautioned that drivers will always make mistakes and says that's why the Government's programme to make roads safer is so important.
Several people, including a child and a baby, have been badly hurt in the crashes.
The horror weekend brings the year's road toll to 49 - still three fewer than this time last year.
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"Like every death these have been tragic. I really feel for the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones this weekend," Genter said.
The Government had boosted funding for basic safety measures like side and median barriers, safer passing lanes and median barriers because "road deaths are preventable".
The Government's road safety strategy - named Road to Zero - aims to cut road deaths by 40 per cent in a decade with an end goal of zero road deaths.
Genter said progress was being made - January was tied for the lowest number of crashes ever - but "we always knew it would not be in a straight line. There's so much more we need to do".
While the causes of this weekend's crashes are not yet confirmed, Genter said there was a need to focus on all aspects of the system - safer roads, safer speeds, safer cars and safer drivers.
Bad weather will always be an additional risk factor, she said.
"We can't only focus on driver behaviour because people will always make mistakes. The other countries that have had the biggest reduction in road deaths have really focused on making an environment... which is more forgiving."
Waikato had had a notably high rate of deaths and serious injuries in crashes in recent years, particularly rural roads rather than main highways, Genter said. The police and regional councils were working closely to make roads in the region safer, as well as increasing traffic police and a focus on impaired drivers.
It began a person dying in a two-vehicle crash in Tahuna, 18km north of Morrinsville at 10.30am on Saturday.
A man and a woman then lost their lives in a crash on Cambridge Rd, in Leamington, south of Cambridge, about 6pm last night. A witness told Stuff a baby had survived the crash, which involved a small logging truck and another vehicle.
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.
At 2.15am on Sunday three people were killed and a child was critically hurt after their car smashed into a tree near Whananaki in Northland.
Finally an eighth person died in Piopio, Waikato around 12.40pm on Sunday in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of State Highway 3 and Mangakowhai Rd. One person remains in a serious condition in Waikato Hospital this evening.
Police Acting National Manager of Road Policing, Inspector Gini Welch, said it was too early to be sure of what caused the crashes - but most deaths that happen on New Zealand's roads were avoidable.
"Every loss of life on our roads is a tragedy and these deaths will have a major impact both on individual families and wider communities," Welch said.
"Police work closely alongside our road safety partners including the NZ Transport Agency, local authorities and the Ministry of Transport, but we need everybody to do their part in keeping our roads safe."
NZTA senior manager of road safety Fabian Marsh urged drivers to remember the basics when it comes to safe driving.
"All of us can make mistakes when we're driving, and we are all vulnerable in a crash.
"But we can all take a few simple steps to make sure a mistake doesn't result in loss of life or limb."
These included making sure everyone in the car was wearing a seatbelt, avoiding distractions like cellphones, driving within the speed limit and never getting behind the wheel intoxicated, Marsh said.
"Mistakes are inevitable, but deaths and serious injuries from crashes are not."