A body discovered in a burnt out car 15 kilometres north of Kaikoura will take some time to formally identify, police say.
Police believe they know the identity of the body and have informed next of kin, but the intensity of the fire meant the body could not be formally identified yet.
The body was taken for autopsy in Christchurch today and results were expected late tomorrow.
The scene on Kiwa Rd was still being guarded by police tonight and a scene examination will continue tomorrow.
Detective Inspector Geoff Jago said it appeared someone had been camping in the car on Kiwa Rd for a few days before the fire.
A Kaikoura woman earlier said she believed she knew the owner of the van.
Juanita Edlemann, who owns a pottery shop in Kiwa Rd, said she believed the van belonged to an Auckland man in his mid-20s.
She had seen him about 2pm on Sunday when he was heading out for a surf.
"He was really happy when I saw him," Edlemann said.
The man had been in Kaikoura on and off for about four years, doing odd jobs and living in his van or taking accommodation when offered, she said.
"He loved surfing and was just a really nice guy."
He was a funny guy and had a clean camp site, she said.
He was looking forward to travelling to the US this week to visit his American girlfriend, who had been living in Kaikoura until a few months ago.
Kiwa Rd was frequently used by freedom campers and it was common to see cars and campers parked in the area, Edlemann said.
The road provides access to a popular surfing spot, the Meatworks.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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