Dead teenage driver named

An teenage driver killed in a head-on crash in Tararua has been named.

Cheyenne Ihaka, 16, of Eketahuna, was killed when the vehicle he was driving, a Ford Falcon, collided with a Mazda on State Highway 2, Mangamutu, 5km south of Pahiatua township, about 11.35pm last night.

Sergeant Glenn Ryan said the south-bound Ford crossed the centre line, smashing head-on into the north-bound Mazda.

Ihaka, an unlicensed driver, died at the scene.

Preliminary examinations indicated driver inexperience, alcohol, and the condition of the Ford were contributing factors, Ryan said.

The vehicle was neither registered nor warranted. 

The 37-year-old female driver of the Mazda is in a serious condition after suffering lower leg and abdominal injuries.

A 17-year-old male passenger of the Ford is in a moderate condition having suffered leg and neck injuries.

Both remain in Palmerston North Hospital this evening.

A police spokeswoman said officers were continuing to speak to witnesses to piece together the events leading up to the crash.

Ihaka's death has been referred to the coroner.