Tuesday afternoon's four-truck fatal crash near Whakatane has New Zealand reeling.
Police confirmed on Wednesday the three people killed in the crash were all road workers.
Of the four trucks involved, three were engaged in road maintenance at the time of the crash. The fourth was travelling east towards Matata.
FIRST Union, which represents road workers, said the deaths were "a shocking loss".
"We are horrified to hear of the deaths of three people who were working for Higgins Contractors near Whakatane," said Transport, logistics and manufacturing secretary Jared Abbott in a statement.
Police have now named the three men who died in the crash as 55-year-old Dudley Sole Raroa, 55-year-old David Reginald Te Wira Eparaima and Haki Graham Hiha, 40 years old.
All three men were living in Rotorua.
"No one goes to work to die. Our thoughts are with the families, who today will be mourning a shocking loss, and to the workers who will never see their friends again."
Police and the Serious Crash Unit are investigating the circumstances behind the horrendous crash, which occurred at 1:50pm on Tuesday.
Anyone who may have travelled on the Matata Straights along SH2 between 1:30pm and 1:50pm on Tuesday is asked to contact police as soon as possible on (07) 308 5255.