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Crash victims in NZ 'for family reunion'

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/09/2016

The scene of the fatal crash © Fairfax The scene of the fatal crash A man and two boys killed in a collision between a car and a truck at the Waikato town of Huntly were part of a Queensland family on the way to visiting relatives, Australia media have reported.

Police have yet to name the deceased, saying only that they were a 54-year-old man and boys aged 14 and 12.

Two others in the car, a woman and nine-year-old girl, were rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

The Brisbane Times has identified the three dead as Stephen Phillips and his two stepsons.

The Times said on Tuesday that the woman, Belinda Williams, was the mother of the two boys and the girl.

It said the family left their home on Monday morning to spend two weeks visiting Ms Williams' family in New Zealand for a big family reunion during the school holidays.

Mr Phillips was first violinist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra while Ms Williams, a viola player, made guest appearances for the orchestra.

The crash happened on Monday afternoon and closed State Highway 1 for several hours.

Waikato Hospital said on Tuesday the woman's condition had improved from critical to serious while the girl was in a stable condition.

The truck driver was uninjured.

In releasing the ages of the victims, Inspector Freda Grace also issued a warning about driving within speed limits and to the conditions.

"Drivers must be fit for the road, which means being well-rested and focused," she said.

"Too often, a moment of fatigue or distraction has tragic consequences."

Another person later died on SH1 in the Waikato. A 46-year-old woman was hit by a truck south of Tokoroa early on Tuesday morning.

So far this year, 232 people have died on the country's roads, compared with 222 at the same time last year.

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