A man found unconscious on a Whanganui street has been taken to Wellington Hospital with critical head injuries.

Central District Police are investigating after the man was found with unexplained injuries at 3am on Friday on Tinirau St, Whanganui East.

Whanganui East resident Cara Davis was going home from Whanganui Hospital about 3am and discovered the man on the road.

"I came round the corner into Tinirau St and saw a guy lying on the road unconscious," Davis said.

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"I rang the police and ambulance but I was by myself so I didn't want to get out of the car. The police turned up pretty much straight away. They couldn't wake him and took him away in the ambulance.

"The guy looked to be in his late 40s. It was pretty heart-wrenching. I'm still shaken up about it. I hope they can find out something about it as soon as possible."

Davis said the man was lying at the Duncan St roundabout end of Tinirau St.

Police are asking people who saw or heard anything out of the ordinary in the area in the early hours of Friday to contact them.

Anyone with information can contact Whanganui Police on 06 349 0600 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.