A former All Black and his wife were killed in a head-on collision with a logging truck on the Napier-Taupo Highway on Tuesday.

Ian and Christine Uttley died in at the scene of the crash on State Highway 5 at the bottom of the Titiokura Hill, north of Te Pohue, shortly before noon.

Ian Uttley played two matches at centre for the All Blacks against England in 1963.

A funeral notice for Ian and Christine Uttley in the Hawke's Bay Today said the couple were parents to four and grandparents to six children.

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The All Blacks website said Ian Uttley had a deceptive gliding run which, combined with moving in or out to take a pass, enabled him to make many openings.

He was an Auckland Colts selector in 1974.

"Ian had a quiet, thoughtful approach to the game and to his role as a coach," the website said.

Police Senior Sergeant Greg Brown said at the time of the crash it appeared the Uttley's vehicle took evasive action to avoid an approaching vehicle.

Their car's tyres went onto the grass verge and the driver lost control, crossing the centre line and "heavily" hitting the truck, which pushed the gold-coloured sedan off the road and down a small bank.

A third vehicle was stopped by police.

Ian Uttley played two matches at centre for the All Blacks against England in 1963.
Ian Uttley played two matches at centre for the All Blacks against England in 1963.

"We would like to speak to anyone who may have seen a dark-coloured people-mover travelling north toward[s] Taupo between Napier and Te Pohue," Mr Brown said.

The occupants of a horse truck with the word "Pony" on it may have seen it, he said.
"What was a beautiful sunny day has ended in absolute tragedy for all concerned.

"Not only will the family now be dealing with the grief of losing a mother, father, nana and grandad in the same crash, but the truck driver and those who witnessed this are severely traumatised and will sadly remember this for a long time to come."

Napier Fire Service Senior Station Officer Glenn Drew said that the pair were already dead when rescue crews arrived.

Police will investigate what part the third vehicle played in the collision and whether distraction contributed.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hawke's Bay Serious Crash unit or leave their information anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

A funeral service will be held in the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre, Marine Parade on Tuesday.