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

Police were called to a private beach near Tangoio yesterday around 1.40pm.

The woman, who has 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.

One Tangoio resident said the private beach had been renamed to "Kirikiri Bay" and had been referred to as this name for around 13 years.

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The resident said the police mistook their property's driveway as the access route to the private beach before being pointed in the right direction.

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

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.

There were several groups of people fishing on Tangoio beach 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.

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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.