Human remains discovered near Taipa on Monday are expected to be removed this afternoon and taken to Auckland for a post-mortem examination.
Detective Inspector Rhys Johnston, who is heading the investigation, said identifying the remains was likely to take some time given the length of time — thought to be several years — they had been there.
He would not speculate on the person's identity or gender.
Forensic methods such as dental records or DNA analysis would be required to identify the remains.
About 10 staff from Whangārei and Kaitaia were working on the case and carrying out a thorough scene examination. The scene remained under guard last night.
Johnston said he was keeping an open mind as to whether the person's death was suspicious.
"The post mortem will give us a clearer steer on that," he said.
Members of the police search and rescue team trained in body recovery were expected to remove the remains late this afternoon.
The body was found about 12.30pm on Monday by a Top Energy crew clearing bush under power lines near Taipa's town centre.
Last November the remains of a Korean man who had been missing for 14 years were discovered in similar circumstances by Northpower workers clearing vegetation under powerlines in Morningside, Whangārei.
The 74-year-old, who suffered from Alzheimer's, was thought to have got lost after going for a walk on Otaika Rd.
Police have a number of missing person files in the Far North, including in the Taipa area.