Police say the van was carrying RSE workers who were travelling from Hastings to Taupō for a holiday.
The man was in the van's passenger seat when the crash happened just before 10am yesterday (Monday).
Acting Sergeant Nathan Ross said the truck collided with the van as the van turned right into the Tarawera Cafe.
"In the van there were 10 Samoan RSE workers and one New Zealander. The New Zealand Police are currently working with the Samoan Commission to inform the families of the people in the van."
Ross said it's too early to say whether people were wearing seatbelts.
The cafe's owner, Jim Andrew, said three vans were heading north: two pulled into the public toilet area by the cafe and the third got sideswiped by a truck and trailer.
St John's Hawke's Bay territory manager Brendon Hutchinson said four ambulances and three helicopters attended the scene to take the people to hospital.
Two people are in a critical condition and another eight are in moderate to serious conditions.
The driver of the truck is uninjured.