A young father killed on the side of a road in Mangere was shot at least once in the head in a slaying police say appears "sinister."

Epalahame Tu'uheava, 28, was found on Greenwood Rd on about 6am Tuesday morning, beside a 25-year-old woman with gunshot wounds.

The woman had serious injuries. She remains in Auckland Hospital in a stable condition and is recovering from surgery for gunshot wounds.

Police say that the pair were both shot more than once. The woman was shot at least once in the upper-torso, and Tu'uheava at least once in the head.

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The relationship between the victims has not yet been released, but it is believed the woman is Yolanda Tu'uheava - the dead man's wife. The couple have a young son.

Detective Inspector Faa Va'aelua said that at this stage police knew little about the circumstances of the shooting.

Va'aelua could not say if the incident was gang-related and that police did not know why those involved in the incident were on Greenwood Rd.

Police did not know whether the offenders were known to the victims, but Va'aelua said it appeared the offenders weren't random shooters.

"We believe there might be something a lot more sinister with the offenders. The way they have shot and killed a victim and shot and injured another victim, we believe there is a lot more to it."

He said police were looking for two Tongan men in relation to the murder and appealed to the public for assistance in locating the offenders.

"We are looking for two males, believed to be Tongans. At this stage they are only described as one being older than the other, and one being taller than the other. The taller one possibly has a little bit of a hunchback.

"Once we learn their identities we will be in a better position to profile who they are, and piece together why they were there."

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Counties Manukau Police are continuing to make enquiries into yesterday's fatal shooting. Photo / File
Counties Manukau Police are continuing to make enquiries into yesterday's fatal shooting. Photo / File

Va'aelua said a vehicle located at the scene belonged to the victims. He described it as a 2017 silver Toyota Camry sedan.

"Police are also conducting a forensic examination of the victim's vehicle which was found at the scene," he said.

"We would like to appeal to any members of the public, and motorists who drove along Greenwood Rd, that may have seen that car there and may have even seen another car or possibly the offender."

The offenders were also in a vehicle, but police do not yet have a description of that car.

Va'aelua said police were relying a lot on what the survivor, who is still in hospital recovering from surgery, can tell them.

"The victim has been speaking with police, and as a result we are following a number of positive leads to identify the people responsible for this shooting," he said.

A post-mortem was due to be conducted yesterday.

Greenwood Rd has a reputation for being a "dumping ground" frequented by boy racers, and where some of the city's homeless go to sleep.

Earlier today family and friends described Tu'uheava as a devoted father and husband, known to many as "Hame'' or Abraham.

Tributes for the 28-year-old started to appear online, as loved ones learned the news.

"No way. So lost for words right now. My mind hasn't even had a chance to fully process what has happened,'' one wrote.

"My brother, I don't believe it - so many good memories with you.''

Another called him her "Tongan nephew'' who always referred to her as his aunty, despite not being related.

* Information can be provided by calling Counties Manukau Crime Squad on 09 261 1321 or contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.