Christmas/New Year road toll increases to six after two die in Southland crash

The road toll for the Christmas/New Year holiday period has increased to six after two people died following a serious crash in Southland.

The two-vehicle crash took place near the Oreti River Bridge on Riverton Wallacetown Highway at 1:30pm on Monday and a man died at the scene.

A woman, who was transported to Dunedin Hospital in a critical condition, also later died.

The deaths bring the road toll for the holiday period to six, which is more than last year's full total of four.

Promising young rugby player Viliami Muru-Teutau was among three people who were killed in Boxing Day crashes.

The 20-year-old died after a crash on Triangle Road in West Auckland's Henderson. Another young man also died in the crash.

Muru-Teutau was a young sportsman who had played for the New Zealand Māori under 18s and also for New South Wales' Razorback rugby team.

He leaves behind his one-year old daughter, and his family are in a state of shock.

"Vili was a young man who had everything to live for," they said in a statement.

"Our world has been turned upside down and inside out. This is supposed to be a holiday season of festive happiness, and instead we are weeping and we are grieving." 

Two other families' lives have also been shattered - 24-year-old Rebecca MacAlees and her 34-year-old partner Terry Charleston were killed in this single vehicle crash in Clevedon on Christmas Day.

Police are still yet to determine the cause of both accidents.

Meanwhile, the family of a Tauranga man are counting their good fortune.

Gregg Shaw, 67, miraculously escaped serious injury after spending two days trapped in his car 5m down a steep bank.

Relatives found him trapped in his car yesterday afternoon an hour north of Gisborne, on State Highway 2.

"Mr Shaw was very lucky," Det Sgt Brent Griffiths from the Gisborne Police told Newshub. "Police attend a number of these sorts of crashes and unfortunately many end in tragedy."

They're urging drivers to take care on the roads with the holiday season in full swing.