Detective Inspector Tim Anderson has described the injury suffered by a man stabbed in Kawerau on Thursday night as unsurvivable.
Speaking in front of the Holyoake Cres home the 23-year-old Kawerau man suffered the fatal neck wound, Mr Anderson said emergency services were alerted to the incident after receiving a 111 call from the address.
"The nature of the injury to the man's neck meant it was fatal at the time,'' Mr Anderson said.
"Paramedics were called but couldn't do anything to save the man.''
A post mortem was expected to be completed today or tomorrow.
He said there were three adults, two men and a woman, and a nine-year-old child at the house when police arrived. "We believe the child was close to the scene of the fatal incident and we are speaking with that child as part of our investigation. We are also talking to the female witness to the assault and to wider family members.''
Mr Anderson said the victim and the alleged offender were known to each other but would not comment further on the relationship between them as the matter was before the courts.
"Everyone involved is co-operating with police which makes the investigation easier.''
He said police expected to complete the scene examination sometime tomorrow.
The 31-year-old man charged with assault in relation to the incident has been remanded in custody to re-appear in the Whakatane District Court next Wednesday when it is expected more serious charges will be laid.
The mill town of Kawerau has suffered another blow with a fatal stabbing last night.
Police and ambulance were called to a home on Holyoake Cres about 8pm.
Neighbours said they were not aware anything had happened until a police car going "a rapid rate of knots'' rushed down the quiet street followed shortly after by an ambulance.
A group of people gathered on Holyoake Cres and spoken to by The Daily Post, none of whom wanted to be named, said they believed a man had been stabbed at a family home.
"I think a group of young ones had been drinking there [or near there] for a couple of days, that's what I was told anyway,'' one man said. "I'm pretty sure the cops were here yesterday as well although I don't think it was for long.''
This morning police confirmed a someone had died as a result of the incident.
Detective Inspector Tim Anderson said police received a 111 call in relation to a serious assault at an address in Holyoake Cres about 8pm last night.
He said police arrived and found one woman and two men at the address.
"One of the men was deceased with fatal injuries to his neck. A formal identification of the man is yet to be established."
Mr Anderson said the residential address was under scene guard and a scene examination would take place today with forensic scientists.
"A forensic post mortem will also take place on 11 January."
A resident of Holyoake Cres said he had heard screaming not long before police showed up.
"This is normally a quiet street, we got rid of the loud ones about 18 months ago and there hasn't really been any excitement since then,'' one man said.
Apart from several police cars lining the dark street, the area was deserted and quiet.
While The Daily Post was at the scene, a woman arrived at the home and became distraught after speaking briefly with police. Other friends and family were also gathering outside the address.
Kawerau residents were last night discussing the incident on Facebook.
Mr Anderson this afternoon said he couldn't reveal too much about the stabbing because it was now before the courts.
However, he confirmed both the victim and the alleged offender were known to each other.
A 31-year-old man has appeared in the Whakatane District Court in relation to the stabbing and was due back in court next week.
The names of the victim and the accused have been suppressed by the court.