Napier police say the man found dead underneath a bridge on State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupo died after falling from the bridge.
Motorists who stopped for a break on Tuesday afternoon near the Mohaka River bridge saw a man lying on the riverbed.
He was identified on Wednesday as Robert Potiki, 35, from Hastings.
Detective Senior Sergeant Nick Reid says a post-mortem examination shows the man died from injuries consistent with a fall.
He says the police have handed the matter over to the coroner to determine the circumstances surrounding the death.