A woman was killed after the car she was driving rolled off the road and landed upside down in a canal.
Police said emergency services responded to a crash on State Highway 25, Waitakaruru about 11.55am.
''A motor vehicle has rolled and ended upside down, in a roadside water canal,'' police said.
''The sole female occupant/driver has sustained a fatal injury at the scene. The Serious Crash Unit are in attendance and will be investigating the crash.''
Police said the car had been seen by a passing motorist who raised the alarm.
It was thought the woman had been driving east when the crash happened. A few farm houses were nearby but no one reported seeing the crash and police were appealing for any witnesses to come forward.
First on the scene was the Ngatea Volunteer Fire Brigade, who found the car resting on its side in two feet of water at the bottom of a deep roadside drain.
''We didn't do a hell of a lot - there wasn't much we could do,'' Chief fire officer Miles Shelley said.
''I don't know how long [the car] had been there.''
The driver was submerged when they found her and there were no signs of life, Shelley said. "We did what we could for her until the ambulance turned up.''
The car appeared to have rolled off the dry tarseal on a straight stretch of road and damage to the car was minor, he said.
State Highway 25 was closed and diversions put in place at the intersection of Canal East Rd and Pipiroa Rd.
Police advised motorists to avoid the area and to take an alternative route.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Pals and playmates (pictures)
Reacting to a sudden cancellation
New Zealand's best deck built yesterday
Appreciating Tony Allen
The meaning of blogging