The local South Taranaki community has been left confused and heartbroken after seven people died in a horrific crash on Wednesday.
Four elderly people, a young father, a new born baby and an eight-year-old girl died in the head on collision north of Waverley.
A woman injured in the crash is still fighting for her life in Wellington Hospital.
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Emergency services, many of them volunteers local to the area, were left traumatised after attending the crash.
South Taranaki mayor Ross Dunlop told The AM Show the community was caught by surprise by the crash.
"Yesterday morning started with a beautiful sunny day, there was no way we were expecting this situation to happen," he said.
"By lunchtime the whole community was in absolute shock."
Mr Dunlop said the stretch of road was not particularly abnormal, he had driven down it the a few days before and not thought anything out of the ordinary about it.
He didn't believe it was the kind of area where a tragedy would occur.
In fact according to Mr Dunlop a lot of money had been spent improving the roads between Hawera and Whanganui over the past few years.
The names of the dead have not yet been released, but Mr Dunlop is aware the family killed were local to the area.
He said the community will be providing as much support to those affected by the crash as possible.
"Small communities, actually it's amazing what comes out, I am sure there will be a tremendous amount of support for the families," he said.
"There's just nothing you can really do to remedy this situation so it's a very very difficult situation for our community"