The family of Opotiki homicide victim Brian Albert Hilton have said they are pleased the police are pursuing an inquiry into his death.

A family spokeswoman released a brief statement through the police.

"Brian's family is pleased the police are committed to finding answers and holding whoever is responsible for Brian's death to account.

"We wish the police well in pursuit of a resolution."


Hilton died in July 2016 in Tauranga Hospital from injuries believed at the time to be from a fall.

Eastern area manager Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen said police reopened the investigation into the 77-year-old's death after receiving new information, and were treating it as a homicide.

Opotiki District Councillor Barry Howe described Hilton as an eccentric, and mayor John Forbes said he often received messages from Hilton, as did former Prime Minister John Key.

"I have to admit a message from Mr Hilton often used to make me smile," Forbes said.

"Knowing he was also sending them to the Prime Minister made me wonder how often the leaders of our country receive messages from people, I can imagine they would be inundated."

Forbes said he recalled the police investigation into Hilton's death and said, at the time, police had met with him in his role as mayor and said, as far as they could ascertain, a fall had contributed to his death.