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Taupō crash victims were travelling to Northland

Four rescue helicopters were dispatched to Taupō to transport the injured to hospital.

Two people from Northland and a Kiwi on holiday back home from Australia were among the dead in a horror crash near Taupō on Tuesday.

Police confirmed Helena Adele Paul, 56 and  Hone Te Ahurei Hawkins-Kanuta, 5 died were from Kaikohe. Leighton Phillip Ahuriri, 60, a New Zealander living in Western Australia, was travelling with them. 

Palmerston North woman Mele Ilisapi Oliveti, 44 - who was known by friends and family as Pesi Tuivai - also died in the crash. 

Pesi Tuivai died in a crash near Taupo. She is from Palmerston North and had just got her certificate to be a pastor.

Eight other people were injured, and four were taken to hospital with injuries ranging from critical to serious.

READ MORE: Church in shock after new minister's death in fatal crash

Tuivai is mother to one child living in Tonga, three young boys living in Palmerston North, and daughter Anamoala, 3, who was among those in the vehicle with her.


Anamoala was taken to Rotorua Hospital, where she was in a stable condition.

Tuivai was travelling in a people mover with family who were all members of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga when they collided with another car on State Highway  near Tutukau Rd, North of Taupō.

The serious crash unit investigation is ongoing and will take some time.

However, speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash, police said.