Police in Wellington say they won't know if the death of a man on the Paekakariki Hill Road is a homicide until they carry out a post-mortem, but are treating it as suspicious.
Police have recovered the 32-year-old's body, which was near a white Toyota Corolla that had crashed off the road.
The car was found about 7.30am today in difficult terrain and precariously balanced after coming off the winding road north of Wellington overnight.
Inspector Paul Basham said the man's injuries were inconsistent with a car crash and were treating the death as suspicious.
"We have identified some injuries that we think are inconsistent with the vehicle crash ... We're therefore treating the death at this point as suspicious or potentially suspicious.
"We'll have a post-mortem examination tomorrow and we hope, after that, to be in a better position to understand what those injuries are and make a call as to whether or not we would elevate it from a suspicious death to a homicide."
A post-mortem examination to confirm the injuries was likely to be completed tomorrow morning, Mr Basham said.
The car has been taken away for forensic testing.
Police wanted the public to contact them if the had seen any unusual activity in the Paekakariki Hill Road area overnight. The road has reopened.