Mark Geoffrey Beale, who was found unconscious on a beach in Haumoana, died yesterday morning in hospital.
Police found 45-year-old Mr Beale about 7am on Monday after he had been left for dead.
He was rushed to Hawke's Bay Hospital and had remained in a critical condition in intensive care before he died.
Detective inspector Mike Foster believed Mr Beale had been assaulted.
A homicide investigation has been launched and police have done a scene examination in the area of Domain Rd and Grange Rd.
A dinghy and an item of interest were blocked off in the cordoned area.
"Police would like to hear from people who may have been in the area of Domain Rd and Grange Rd on the afternoon or evening of Sunday," Mr Foster said.
The area is popular for people fishing, dog walking, running and other recreational activities.
A local resident who woke to the sound of a radio from a fire engine and ambulance on Monday morning said groups of people had since been coming with flowers to the spot Mr Beale was found.
"I was just driving back from town yesterday afternoon and as I was pulling into my driveway I saw a whole lot of people carrying a variety of tributes for the man."
She was shocked at what had happened and said this was the first serious assault and incident that had occurred in the area.
"We have had a few cars go into the drain and a bit of drama but nothing like this.
"It is pretty sad, really."
The resident said it was still a clear crime scene with a police van just outside her house and forensics and police walking in and around the area.
A security guard remained at the cordon and at 8pm last night police were still at the scene.
She was just one of many who were shocked at what had happened in this seaside town.
One local said she was saddened this had occurred in their small village and to this "poor, poor" man.
"It is actually heartbreaking."
Another had often seen Mr Beale around town and couldn't believe the news of his death.
Anyone with information relevant to the incident is asked to call Hasting Police on 06 873 0500.
Alternatively information can be shared anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.