A 45-year-old man walking with a woman in the rain and darkness has died after being struck by a vehicle on Northland's main highway.
It's believed the couple were hitchhiking north and had been given a lift from Whangārei and dropped at Hikurangi just before the fatality on State Highway 1 about 6.40pm on Thursday.
Police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen the couple walking or gave them a lift before the incident that happened less than 100m from the George St entrance to Hikurangi.
Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson said the couple were walking north when the man was struck by a ute also travelling north.
The driver of the ute stopped and was part of a team that tried to help the injured man at the scene. An ambulance driver passing the scene stopped and people from a house next to the road climbed over their back fence and rushed to help as well.
Unfortunately the man died at the scene and the state highway was closed for a few hours while police carried out their investigations. The woman was not injured and neither were the people in the ute.
"Police would like to hear from anyone who saw the couple walking along the road or may have given them a ride," Dickson said.
Dickson publicly acknowledged the help of the ambulance officer and neighbours.
"They showed great compassion and community care."
Dickson also issued a warning and said the state highway was not a place to walk or hitchhike particularly at night in heavy rain.
"It's hard for drivers to see in these conditions. If you have to hitch hike at night stay in well lit areas," Dickson said.
"The dangers of hitchhiking can be minimised by travelling during the day."
If anyone can help police they should ring 105, leave a message for Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson and include their contact details.