A "loud bang" which woke sleeping residents in a Wairoa street could be linked to the finding of a man's body later this morning.

Investigations are ongoing into the "unexplained death" of a man, whose body was found on a road in Wairoa just before 5am this morning.

Yesterday Detective Sergeant Daniel Kirk said police were working to identify the man and establish what happened.

"While inquiries are ongoing, police will not speculate on the cause of death," he said.

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"We are asking local people to avoid the scene to allow police do their work and to provide some dignity for the deceased."

The man's body was found Black St, near Rutherford St. Residents spoken to by Hawke's Bay Today said the street - which runs nearly the entire width of the township - was quieter than usual.

A police cordon remained in place for most of the day, with residents asked to limit their comings and goings.

While police have not commented on details surrounding the man's death, residents in the surrounding area think the man was involved in a hit and run.

One resident said he had been woken in the night by a loud bang.

"We heard a loud noise between 3am and 4am this morning," he said. "It woke us up, I got out of bed and looked out the window but I couldn't see anything."

"It was so loud, so loud."

The man said at the time, he thought the noise had come from a nearby property.

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Another resident, who lived about 50 metres from where the body was discovered, said he hadn't heard anything during the night.

However, he had been told there had been a collision with a car, and said the man's body had been found near the intersection of Black St and Rutherford St.

When asked, a police spokesman said they would not comment on the possibility of the incident being a hit-and-run.

Yesterday Wairoa Mayor Craig Little paid his condolences to the family of the unidentified man.

"When something like this happens it's always tragic," he said. "[His family] are going to be the ones suffering because of this."

Mr Little said normally Black St could get quite busy, as it was one of the main thoroughfares through town.

Police have appealed to the public for information about the incident, asking anyone who was in the area of Black St between 4am and 5am yesterday morning to contact police.

Anyone with information should call Eastern District Police on (06) 831 0700, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.