Two people died and another five were injured after a head-on collision between two cars on the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington.
Police investigating the crash say it appears a driver lost control of his vehicle while using a passing lane at speed.
The dead are a man and a woman who police say were in a car that crossed the centre line and smashed into another car on State Highway One, just north of Paraparaumu at about 2.45pm on Friday.
The other vehicle was carrying two adults, who were seriously injured, and three children, who are in a moderate to serious condition.
All the injured were taken by ambulance to Wellington hospital.
Inspector Peter Baird says members of the public who were first on the scene were greeted with an horrific sight.
He says the young children were traumatised by what had happend.
Both lanes of State Highway One were closed for a period after the accident.
With four days still to go, the official holiday road toll stood at 11 before this latest fatal crash.
The official holiday road toll last year was 12 for the whole period.