Police in Rotorua say alcohol, speed and a failure to wear seatbelts were likely contributors to a fatal crash about 35km east of the city on Thursday morning.
A man, 21, died when his car rolled several times on State Highway 30 at 1.10am.
He lost control of the car as it approached a 65km per hour bend.
A passenger, 19, is in a critical condition at Rotorua Hospital.
Both men were thrown from the vehicle.