Police now believe there were two vehicles that came into contact with Ruatoria man Nelson Hari, who was found dead on the Tapuaeroa Road near Ruatoria early Sunday.

He died while walking home along the Tapuaeroa Rd after drinking with friends. The rural road has no street lights. The 25-year-old failed to respond to attempts to revive him when he was found.

"We have completed our forensic examination of one vehicle and want help from the Ruatoria community to find a second vehicle," said Detective Sergeant Kevin Ford.

Ford said the inquiry team want to hear from anyone who was on the Tapuaeroa Road, or was travelling on State Highway 35 from the Ruatoria turnoff to or from Te Araroa, at the time Hari suffered fatal injuries. Ruatoria is 129 kilometres north of Gisborne.

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Initially it was thought Hari was the victim of a hit-and-run but investigations were determining if he was hit by a vehicle.

"That is between midnight and 20 past 12 on Sunday morning," Ford said.

"We believe the second vehicle we are looking for will have damage to the front of it."

"We want to hear from anyone who has noticed a vehicle in the Ruatoria area in the past few days that has recently had frontal damage."

The post-mortem examination of Hari has been completed and his body has been released to his family.

"We will not be releasing details of that examination."

Gisborne Herald