Police say a man whose car ploughed into two women picnicking by the roadside on Saturday morning was three times over the legal drink-drive limit.
The women, aged 69 and 62, were touring gardens in Te Horo, south of Otaki, when a Subaru station-wagon hit them as they were picnicking on a grass verge on Old Hautere Road.
The older woman, who was sitting inside a parked car, was thrown from her seat, over a fence and into a paddock. She was flown to Palmerston North Hospital, which lists her condition as very critical.
The second woman's condition, initially described as moderate, has since worsened to serious.
Senior Constable Peter Smith says the 37-year-old driver from Lower Hutt has been charged with drink-driving, but more serious charges are possible.
The charged man is due to appear in the Levin District Court next month.