Police investigating scene on SH3

(Tom Melville / Newshub.)
(Tom Melville / Newshub.)

Police have confirmed the body of a 17-year-old girl has been found on the side of a Waikato highway.

State Highway 3 in Otorohanga had been closed between Blucks Rd and Harpers Ave since around 6:30am while police investigate. The road was reopened by 7:30pm.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Patterson says while it may be possible a vehicle was involved, police are keeping an open mind as to how the teenager died.

"We expect that as our investigation progresses we will find out more about how she came to be there and the circumstances of her death," says Sgt Patterson.

"This is a tragedy and our thoughts are will her family at this time." 

Scene examinations are ongoing, with pathologists and other experts working to establish the cause of death.

Police investigating scene on SH3

A metal fence nearby had been damaged and police are reportedly investigating whether that was linked to the incident.

"We are hoping to get some idea of what's happened after the scene examination is completed, which will be mid to late afternoon. By then we should have a better picture of what we think we've got on our hands," says Sgt Patterson.

He says somebody found the girl this morning and reported it to police.

Otorohanga's district Mayor Max Baxter told Newshub it appears the incident may be a hit-and-run.

"What I know so far is that it appears that a 17-year-old girl has died on the roadside on SH3 in Otorohanga and it appears to be a hit-and-run at this stage."

Mr Baxter described the incident as a "parent's worst nightmare" and said it will leave a gaping hole in the small community.

"The smaller the community the bigger the wound, there will be a lot of pain felt for a significant amount of time.

"It is so tragic, and if it is a hit-and-run, I just hope that the person can come forward and confess to what they have done, for the sake of the family and for everybody else concerned."

There had been a loud party at a house near where the police were investigating, Otorohanga and Waitomo Motels owner Karam Kaur told NZ Newswire.

Police investigating scene on SH3

She could not however see anything from the motel this morning.

Diversions are still in place and motorists are being advised to steer clear of the area.

The girl's family and friends have since been notified of her death.