An Auckland family are devastated at the death of a man who was struck by a car while lying on an unlit rural road early this morning.

The 43-year-old died after being run over on Hunua Rd, east of Papakura, about 4am.

Resident Duncan Patrick said the deceased was his neighbour, and lived a short distance from the crash scene.

Mr Patrick said he had spent the day with the man's family while they grieved.

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The family had already suffered "a couple of deaths this year" and didn't want to talk about their loss, Mr Patrick said.

"The family are obviously pretty devastated."

It wasn't clear why the man was lying on the road near his home when he was run over.

"He was going to a mate's place or something," Mr Patrick said.

"Apparently he wasn't drunk. I've known him for a while and I've never known him to be drunk."

The man was a regular customer at Hunua Mini Supermarket, where staff member Rupinder Kour said other regulars had been talking about the death today.

Sergeant Darryll Horn of Papakura police said the 43-year-old male died at the scene after he was run over on Hunua Rd at 4am. The driver of the car remained at the scene and is cooperating with police, he said.

"It is understood that the man was lying on the road before he was run over," Sergeant Horn said.

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The name of the dead man will not be released until he has been formally identified.

Hunua Rd resident Sailau Ulugia said she was watching TV about 3am when she heard a noise which sounded like the brakes of a stopping vehicle.

"It was just an unusual noise for us to hear. I had to come out the door and check but there was nothing. The noise seemed a bit odd, we've never heard that noise before."

Police asked for information from anyone in the area between 2am and 4am, who "possibly saw something strange that they may not have realised was a person on the road."

A similar incident occurred near the small Otago town of Maheno overnight, with an 18 year old man was struck and seriously injured by a milk tanker as he was walking on State Highway 1 at 1.12am.