Police believe they know the identity of a man whose badly decomposed body was found on Ninety Mile Beach in the Far North more than three weeks ago.

However, they said his name would not be released until his identity was confirmed through DNA.

He is believed to be an English language school student of Indian descent, aged in his 30s or 40s.

His body was found at the southern end of the beach in shallow water by a member of the public.

Police do not believe his death was suspicious.

It was initially thought he had been in the water for two weeks but police said he had been in the water for only one to three days.

- NZPA