Preliminary results are expected today from a post-mortem examination on a body found near a popular Kaikoura surf beach.
Police yesterday confirmed that a man's body was in a badly burned vehicle located on Kiwa Rd, the access route to popular surfing spot Mangamaunu, known as 'Meatworks', 15km north of Kaikoura.
It was removed from the van yesterday and police were trying to work out what started the fire, formally identify the body and notify next of kin.
Locals say the body was that of an Auckland man in his mid-to-late 20s, known as Adam.
The van was believed to have been parked there overnight on Sunday.
Police were expected to complete a scene examination today and the vehicle would be removed from the scene.
Detective Inspector Geoff Jago said it was believed there was a single occupant in the van who had been camping at the Kiwa Road spot for the past few days.
Local resident Juanita Edelmann, who lives in Kiwa Rd, was stunned by the death of a "nice guy, a surfer, a free spirit".
She said the man had been coming to the Kaikoura area "on and off" for around five years to enjoy the renowned Meatworks surf break and the local skifields.
Ms Edelmann was adamant that there was nothing sinister behind the death, and feared it may have been caused by the use of candles inside the van where the man slept and lived.
"He'd been told to keep candles out of there," she told APNZ.
"The van didn't look that much different from the outside until you got close. I think something has smouldered and he's been overcome by smoke.
Police had apparently told locals the man's parents had been informed, but his girlfriend - who is studying in the United States - was yet to be told.
- APNZBy Hana Garrett-Walker Email Hana