A "vicious" beating that killed a Featherston man was not random, police believe.
The small Wairarapa town of Featherston was reeling today after a well-known local man died following the assault.
The man was attacked by more than one person in a Fitzherbert Street address shortly before midnight. He was taken to Wellington Hospital where he died of his injuries.
Detective Inspector Sean Hansen said the 40 year-old man was found bloody and unconscious by his neighbour, who had heard a commotion and called 111.
A scene examination was underway at the Fitzherbert St property and another property on Revens St.
"At this stage we do believe this was not a random attack and we also know there was more than one person involved in the attack. I would encourage anyone who was involved to come forward."
There was nothing to indicate residents in the small town were at risk of further attacks, he said.
Police and ambulance arrived at the address shortly before midnight where they discovered the man with injuries to his head.
"The patient had a pulse but was not breathing...he was in a life threatening condition and CPR was administered," ambulance central communications team manager Norm Ngatai said.
The man was taken to Wellington Hospital, where he died about 5am.
Police have launched a homicide investigation and have 18 staff working on the case.
A neighbour said the man was born and raised in Featherston and had worked at the local 4 Square for several years.
He was a gentle, quiet man who would not harm a fly, he said.
"It's put a major dampner on the day, we're going to a wedding this afternoon and most people will know him there."
The man lived in a unit that was part of a block of four former motel units.
No one has been arrested in relation to the assault but police have "clear lines of inquiry" to follow up, a spokesman said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Wairarapa Police on (06) 370 0300 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- Fairfax Media