A Hawke's Bay woman who suffered horrific burns on Christmas Day has died in hospital.

Neighbours say the 42-year-old was burned in her Whakatu house, 5km north of Hastings, after a day-long domestic dispute.

Police said her name would be released after next of kin were told of her death.

The woman died yesterday and an autopsy would be carried out today.

No charges have yet been laid in relation to her death.

The woman's 49-year-old partner is being treated in Lower Hutt Hospital for burns to his hands and arms he suffered during the incident.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave de Lange said police had completed a scene examination of the property and a number of items had been seized and sent for forensic testing.

It was likely to be some time before any results were available in relation to the tests, he said.

It would be "several days" before police would be able to speak with any of the people who were at the home when the woman was burned, Mr de Lange said.

Emergency services were called to the couple's home on Christmas evening after neighbours reported hearing "screams that somebody was on fire" after a large cloud of black smoke was seen rising from the backyard where the woman and her partner lived with their daughters.

The woman was rushed to Auckland's Middlemore Hospital's intensive care unit for treatment to burns that covered much of her body.

The fire at 7.10pm was the culmination of "very loud" day-long argument, a neighbour said.

"We heard her yelling and screaming all day and he was yelling and screaming all day," a neighbour said.

"The kids kept coming out and then we saw the smoke ... it wasn't very nice at all. They have quite a few domestics in there but this is the worst they have ever had."