Police believe a fatal assault on a 40-year-old Featherston man involved more than one person and was not a random attack.
Officers were called to a house in Fitzherbert Street about 12.15am on Saturday, and found the man in a critical condition with serious head injuries.
He was taken to Wellington Hospital but died shortly before 5am.
An 18-strong team of officers is working on a homicide inquiry, and a post mortem will be held in Wellington on Sunday.
Detective Inspector Sean Hansen said the man suffered a vicious beating, and was unconscious when found by his neighbour.
He said he believes the man was targeted.
"Our preliminary inquiries indicate that it's not a random attack, and I stress that because I want to ensure that the people of Featherston can feel safe".
Detective Inspector Hansen said at this stage police can't discuss why they believe the attack was not random.
A scene examination at the house is underway and will take at least the next two to three days.
Police have also sealed off another property in connection to the death, in Revan Street.
Police are appealing to any members of the public who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in Fitzherbert, Revan, Wakefield and Watt Streets in Featherston to contact them.