Friends of a man found dead in a boat in Nelson have described him as a clever handyman who enjoyed being close to the sea.
Police said John Murray Morton's body was found on Thursday morning and a post mortem suggested he was the victim of a violent attack.
A long-time friend who wanted to be known only as Paul said he was shocked by what had happened.
He said Mr Morton had grown up in Christchurch and moved to Nelson with family several years ago.
"He's been a good friend for 20 years. He used to work for me - he was quite a clever handyman, a boat builder, fibreglasser and plasterer. I'm shocked by what's happened."
He said Mr Morton, known as Muzza, was comfortable on boats, and was capable of sleeping through bad weather, including once when his boat was washed up on the beach.
"It wasn't until a friend of his clambered on board, with 10-foot waves breaking over the top, that he realised 'this is a strange angle to wake up on'.
"Meanwhile the boat, which had foundered and was being torn to ribbons, was half way up the beach and the back half was underwater."
Kane Hippolite of Nelson described Mr Morton as a "cool fella", who went to local Anglican charity Loaves and Fishes most days for lunch.
"He lived on his boat, by the mudflats. I don't know if he had any enemies - maybe to some people but I never saw that side of him. He was just a good fella who loved his boat. He wasn't a trouble-maker."
Records showed Mr Morton had a criminal past, including a prison term on criminal nuisance and weapons offences.
Police said they were still building a picture of the hours leading up to his death.
Detective Inspector Paul Burrell said they were also looking at Mr Morton's background to see if he had any enemies.
Nelson police said the number and nature of his injuries suggested he was the victim of a very violent attack.
Investigating officer Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Johnston said police were looking to Mr Morton's associates for clues.
"We're just working our way through, we're identifying a number of persons of interest to us, and people known to associate or have been with Mr Morton in recent times."