A New Zealand triathlete who met fellow Kiwi Warwick White at a competition in Hungary - hours before White was killed - wants to give his winning medal to the slain man's family.

James Brown, originally from Howick in Auckland, represented Sweden at the Triathlon ITU World Championships, in the 45-49 age group, held in Budapest last Saturday.

Brown, 45, was running late to the event and arrived as other athletes were already lined up ready to go.

"I was the last one on the pontoon. Everyone was looking pretty intense and serious and then I spotted this one guy who looked all smiley and was relaxed.

"I thought, 'Oh, I'll go stand next to him'."

Brown said he said hello and the man - White - immediately noticed his Kiwi accent.

"He asked where I was from and I was a bit embarrassed to say that I was racing for Sweden.

"But he sort of laughed and said he was competing for Ecuador. We both cracked up at that, had a good old laugh.

"I clearly recall shaking his hand and having a laugh on the starting position."

Brown, who has lived with his wife and children in Sweden for the past seven years, ended up winning the race. Days later he found out that a Kiwi triathlete who ran in the Budapest competition had been killed.

White had been fatally stabbed - in the early hours of Sunday - on a city street in Budapest.

The 48-year-old was rushed to hospital but died on the way.

Police have since charged a man with murder.

"I was reading the Herald on the web and just pieced it together," Brown said. "I just couldn't believe it. I didn't even know him and it was just a seconds-[long] conversation. But he was a Kiwi and it was great to hear that accent. It was just one of those moments and now it's just so upsetting."

Brown wants to gift his winning medal to White's family, to pay his respects and also to pay tribute to him.

"I just wanted to let them know that I thought he was a really nice guy and I'd be happy for them to have this as a tribute to his last race.

"The kids are fond of the medal but we all want to help if we can."