A 36-year-old man has died after his makeshift shelter burnt down overnight.

Police said the man was the only person staying in the shelter in Marton near Wanganui when the blaze occurred. It is understood a lit candle may have been the cause of the fire.

"We believe the fire has happened between 11pm on Wednesday 4 December and 8:30am today,'' Sergeant Peter Wood of Marton police said.

While this is a broad timeframe and the rural property being off the main road, we want to speak to anyone that may have been in the area during these times.''


The makeshift shelter was in a paddock on Hawkestone Road, and the fire was reported to police by the property owner this morning.

"Officers from the Whanganui CIB and Fire Scene Investigators are working to establish the cause of the fire. Preliminary indications suggest a lit candle may have started the fire,'' Mr Wood said.

"A thorough scene examination is underway at the property and officers have also been speaking with the man's friends and associates to piece together his movements before the fire.''

The fire is not believed to have been suspicious, and the man's death will be referred to the coroner, police said.

Further details about the man would be released once his next of kin had been advised.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Marton police on (06) 327 6555. Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The incident was initially reported as a tent fire