The death of a 60-year-old man at Mitimiti, possibly as the result of a tractor accident, has been referred to the coroner.

Acting Sergeant Dion Masters said the man, who he believed had retired to a small farm property, had gone out on a tractor at 7.30pm on Sunday to move stock. When he did not return his family assumed he was spending the night in a caravan on the property.

At 7.30 on Monday morning he had still not returned, and his family, who could hear the tractor running, went looking for him. He was found lying underneath the machine, which was on its wheels.

Masters said the cause of death was unclear, but the man may have suffered a medical event.

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"It was pretty steep, and I don't think anyone would have intentionally driven a tractor there," he said.

He was unable to confirm whether the coroner had ordered a post mortem examination.

The site had been blessed.