Mystery surrounds a woman's body that washed up on a Hawke's Bay beach on Saturday.

Police were called to a private beach near Tangoio at around 1.40pm on New Year's Day.

The woman - who is yet to be identified - was found on a private beach known locally as Taits Beach; an isolated area of coast accessed via a remote road.

Hawke's Bay police have not been able to identify her.

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She is described as being aged between 20 and 40 years old, has long dark hair to her shoulders, is of medium build and about 165cm tall.

She was found wearing tight blue jeans and a black bra. She does not have any tattoos or obvious scars.

A police spokeswoman said they could not speculate on her ethnicity until she had been formally identified.

"She does not appear to have been in the water for any great length of time," a police spokesman said.

Police spent the afternoon at the beach yesterday making inquiries to identify the woman, and the circumstances surrounding the death.

Located two kilometres from State Highway 2, Tangoio Beach is a small coastal settlement North of Napier between Waipatiki Beach and Whirinaki.

The Hastings District Council's website, which details numerous beaches in the Hawke's Bay area, presents Taits Beach as "Punakarau Beach" however a local said it was now known as "Kirikiri Beach".

Residents spoken to by Hawke's Bay Today said they had seen a number of police cars driving around the area yesterday, but did not know anything about what had happened.

While there several groups of people fishing on Tangoio beach early yesterday evening but no one had heard or seen anything in relation to the discovery.

When asked about the incident two locals said it was the first they had heard about it.

Most frequented in the summer months, the Tangoio area is popular for recreational activities including fishing, diving, walking and swimming.

Yesterday's discovery closely follows the news of two bodies washing ashore on Auckland's Muriwai Beach within one week of each other.

The first body was found on December 21 and has been speculated to be that of a 24-year-old swimmer who was reported missing on December 17.

Several days later on the morning of Christmas Eve a second body washed up on Muriwai Beach and was later identified as 66-year-old Michael John Bampton.

Police ask that anyone who has any female family or friends overdue or any information that could help identify the woman that they contact Hawke's Bay Police on 06 831 0700 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.