A middle aged man is dead and four others have been airlifted to hospital after two crashes in Central Hawke's Bay this morning.
The man was killed when his white Mitsubishi van and a truck fatally collided in Takapau, between Snee Rd and SH50, about 10.05am.
The second crash occurred minutes later further north on the same stretch of road, when the cars saw the first crash and stopped.
The truck driver was uninjured, but four occupants from two vehicles in the second crash were flown to Hawke's Bay Hospital by rescue helicopter.
Hastings Road Policing Sergeant Ray Kirkby said it was a Christmas tragedy.
"It is horrible at this time of year," he said. "The poor family, the loss they are going to suffer at this time of year, Christmas is never going to be the same for them again."
The deceased man was the single occupant of the vehicle and was driving north.
The Truck was southbound.
The accident scene is on a straight stretch of road and there has been moderate drizzle in the region all morning.
The Serious Crash Unit has just arrived to investigate the cause of the crash.
Emergency services were working at the scenes and motorists should expect delays and detours.