Another road fatality — the second in less than a week — and the death of a man while out surfing off a popular beach marked a horror weekend for Northland.

Police are awaiting the post mortem report on a 50-year-old man who was found in his crashed car on Ford Rd in Towai, 39km north west of Whangārei, about 2am on Saturday.

The deceased man was a local and the person who found him was a relative returning home.

Whangārei Police Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson said the vehicle drove off the road into a paddock before it ended up in a ditch, sometime between 8.30pm on Friday and 1.55am on Saturday.


"We don't suspect speed or alcohol were involved. The death has been referred to the Coroner. In the meantime, we are waiting for expert reports to help us determine what caused the crash," Dixon said.

The 50-year-old was driving away from home when the crash happened.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

Firefighters from Kawakawa were called but were turned away by St John paramedics upon arrival at the scene.

In another tragedy, a 58-year-old surfer from Northland could not be revived after he got into trouble in the water at Sandy Bay.

A Northland surfer who fell into the water while surfing off Sandy Bay could not be revived. Photo/John Stone
A Northland surfer who fell into the water while surfing off Sandy Bay could not be revived. Photo/John Stone

Dixon said the man was carried on to the beach after he fell into the water while surfing at about 4.30pm on Friday.

Two doctors at the beach carried out CPR but the man could not be revived, he said.

There was a mild surf and the beach was busy with mostly surfers.


Local hapu Te Whanau a Rangiwhakaahu, Ngati Toki and Te Akitai put a rahūi over Sandy Bay beach on Friday and it was supposed to have been lifted yesterday.

The surfer's death has also been referred to the Coroner.

Meanwhile, Whangārei police are investigating a crash in which a Subaru Legacy smashed into a bridge early yesterday.

The crash happened on Kauika Rd, off Maunu Rd, about 3.20am.

Police say the car, driven by a 24-year-old Auckland woman, turned left from First Ave into Kauika Rd and was heading towards Maunu Rd when it crashed into the bridge.

The driver escaped unhurt.

Dixon said the driver has provided a blood sample.

Saturday's fatal at Towai brings Northland's road toll for the year so far to 14.

It followed the death of 9-year-old Whau Valley School student Connor Rau who ran into a north-bound truck as he was crossing Kamo Rd on his way to school last Wednesday morning.

A number of people rushed to help the boy but he died at the scene.

Two people were killed in separate road crashes in Northland during Road Safety Week last month.

John Sturgess, 52, of Ngunguru, died after a truck and trailer he was driving went off State Highway 1, near Kaiwaka.

Another fatality on SH1 at Okaihau claimed the life of a 21-year-old Kerikeri woman when she was hit by a car.

Dixon has advised road users this winter to increase their following distances and to take lots of breaks when travelling long distances.

"Always wear your seat belt, don't drive if you are affected by drugs or alcohol and check if your vehicle if roadworthy. Be courteous and be patient on the road," he said.