The formal identification of the 71-year-old man found dead in Petone on Friday night will take place tomorrow during the post-mortem.

Police say the homicide investigation is ongoing, as is a scene examination where the man was found at a property on Jackson St shortly before 10pm.

Detective Inspector Shane Cotter said the scene examination was likely to continue for several more days.

He said despite the scene examination continuing and the post-mortem taking place tomorrow, police would continue to support the family.

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"Formal identification will take place during a post-mortem examination tomorrow," he said.

"However, Police and Victim Support continue to provide support to the victim's family at this difficult time.

"We would like to thank the residents of the area, who have looked out for one another and have been assisting with inquiries."

Earlier today police tents were pitched outside two adjacent apartment buildings to where the elderly man was found, both owned by Housing New Zealand.

A broken glass door which had been shattered could be seen on the bottom floor of one of the buildings.

Yesterday, as a result of the investigation, a 41-year-old man was arrested and appeared in the Lower Hutt District Court on willful damage and drug possession charges.

The man was remanded in custody.

The death would have come as a shock for residents of the longstanding community, a local woman said.

Jackson Street Programme chair Leonie Dodds said the HNZ complex where the man was found was home to residents who knew each other well and had lived in the flats for a long time.

"It's very sad for everyone involved, especially at this time of the year, that there was a death there."

Dodds said the last death in the area was about seven years ago in a complex that has since been demolished.

Neighbours near the property where the 71-year-old man was found dead said police were searching cars leaving the area on Friday night.

Side streets at the end of Jackson St were blocked off by police after the man was found.

"I went out to put some rubbish out and I saw the end of Jackson was completely blocked off and there was a lot of police cars," one woman said.

"It wasn't until this morning and I saw the news that I knew what happened, it's really unsettling."

Another woman on Jackson St said she heard no sirens but she saw "police with guns" outside her gate.