Gisborne fatal bus crash driver arrested

Gisborne bus crash
The scene where the bus slid down a bank near Gisborne (File)

The driver of the bus that crashed on Christmas Eve near Gisborne, killing three people, has been arrested.

The 65-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday night and has been charged with three counts of careless driving causing death and 27 counts of careless driving causing injury, police say.

He will appear in Manukau District Court on April 26. 

Fifty-three people were on board the bus when it crashed through a road barrier about 30km south of Gisborne near State Highway 2 late on December 24.

The bus was carrying students and teachers from Tonga's Mailefihi Siuilikutapu College Brass Band, who were visiting New Zealand to fundraise for their school in Tonga.

"The crash was an absolute tragedy for everyone involved and we hope that holding somebody accountable may begin to bring some closure to those affected," says Tairawhiti area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama.

"I would like to acknowledge the investigation team who have worked on this over the past four months and the agencies who provided support to police and the victims at the time and throughout the inquiry.

"Our thoughts continue to be with the families of those involved."