A man has died en route to hospital after a fight in Taihape overnight.

Police were called to the incident on Thrush St in the central North Island town at 12.30am today.

When they arrived, they found a man was critically injured.

The 43-year-old Taihape resident died a short time later while being transported to a nearby airbase to be airlifted to hospital.

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Police had taken a second man into custody who was assisting them with inquiries.