A farmer has died after falling off a barn roof in Canterbury.

Ian Lester Totty, 72, was found by a family member after the fall at a farm near Staveley, in the Methven area, about 1.30pm yesterday.

His family were described by police as being "incredibly upset" and supported by family, friends and neighbours.

"Ian's family have asked that their privacy be respected while they come to terms with their loss," Senior Constable Mike Seque said.

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"Police understand that Ian was working on the roof of a barn and was found by a member of his family.

"Emergency services attended but unfortunately he was confirmed as deceased at the scene."

The death has been referred to the coroner.