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Police and fire authorities are investigating the death of an elderly South Auckland woman who died after knocking a pot of burning melted margarine over herself.

The 86-year-old was alone in her Pahurehure home yesterday when it is believed she found the margarine, to be used in the making of ceremonial candles, smoking, The Sunday Star Times reported.

She tried to take the pot off the stove, but fell down spilling the margarine over herself receive extensive burns.

Neighbours were alerted by the smoke and called emergency services.

The victim was treated at the scene before being taken to Middlemore Hospital where she died later.