The body of a man found yesterday on Otaki Beach has been removed and an autopsy is taking place today to determine how he died.
A white 1998 Toyota Corolla stationwagon found in a car park near the body is believed to be associated to the man has been seized by police.
The man was believed to be in his late 20s or early 30s.
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Sheridan said the scene examination was likely to be completed by this evening as well as an examination of the vehicle.
About 16 officers are working on the investigation and investigations in the area are continuing.
"Once a post mortem is completed we will have a clearer picture of how the man has died and which path our investigation will take," Mr Sheridan said.
A section of the beach was under police guard overnight.
A man walking at the southern end of the beach about 7.45am yesterday came across the body near The Avenue. As the man was picking up some plastic to put in a rubbish bin, he saw something that caught his eye.
"I thought it was a coloured towel but then realised it was actually the guy's trousers and shirt," he said.
"I walked over there and realised there was someone lying there, face down. It was definitely a shock."
A car found parked at the entrance to the beach, not far from where the body was found, is being investigated by police.
A nearby resident said people often parked and slept in their cars there but the car police were investigating - a white Japanese stationwagon - was parked "on an odd angle".
The resident saw the car when he opened his curtains first thing yesterday morning and believed it had been there for some time.
Police cordoned off the southern end of Marine Parade, south of The Avenue, and a forensics team from outside the district arrived to help with the investigation.
A cherry-picker arrived at the beach in the afternoon to let forensics specialists examine the scene without disturbing it. The body was removed in the afternoon.
Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann said police were treating the death as "unexplained at this stage". Earlier in the day police said it was being treated as suspicious.
An autopsy would be held once the man had been identified, Mr Bensemann said. "Officers are making area inquiries and are speaking to people that were walking on the beach yesterday morning. At this stage we are in the early days of our investigation.
"There is still a lot of information we do not have and we are working to ascertain what has happened to the man."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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