Police are appealing for the public to assist them in solving an Auckland arson that left a man dead.

On December 9 last year, 58-year-old Stephen Rhys Ewart died just before 6am after accidentally setting himself alight, at a residential address in Rustic Ave, Mt Roskill.

Police believed he was intending to set fire to a flat in Rustic Ave and made his way from his home in the CBD at about 10.45pm on Friday, December 8, arriving in Mt Roskill some time between 1am and 6am on Saturday.

"We do not believe Ewart was acting alone," Detective Senior Sergeant Glenn Baldwin said.

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They understood he transported a large number of plastic milk bottle containers and petrol to the address.

"We'd like to hear from any petrol stations that may have sold petrol to Ewart or an associate.

"We know he did not drive and would have required help from someone with a vehicle to transport the milk bottles and the petrol as there were very limited buses or trains running between these hours.

"He was thought to be reasonably reclusive however we believe he may have had links to the Indian community."

Police were appealing to the public for information about Ewart's movements the morning he died and in the days leading up to the incident.

Police, who understand he transported a large number of plastic milk bottle containers and petrol to the Rustic Ave address,
Police, who understand he transported a large number of plastic milk bottle containers and petrol to the Rustic Ave address, "do not believe Ewart was acting alone". Photo / NZ Police

"This type of behaviour was quite out of character for Ewart and we believe there is someone in the community who knows more about his movements," Baldwin said.

Police are urging people to tune in to Police Ten 7 tomorrow night, when further details will be released.

"We are hopeful viewers will respond to our plea for more information to help this investigation.

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"We believe there are others involved in this incident and we seek to better understand why he was at the address and trying to set fire to it."

Anybody with information that could help the investigation can contact Detective Willis, Avondale Police, on 021 922 629.

Police Ten 7 screens on TVNZ 2 at 7.30pm on Thursday, November 1.