Police say the man who died outside the Flax Bar and Eatery in Flaxmere, Hawke's Bay, on Sunday is known in the area.
Officers have launched a homicide investigation and are following several leads after a member of the public found the man, who is in his forties, at about 10:30pm.
Emergency services arrived soon after but were unable to save the victim, who Detective Senior Sergeant Marty James says received a number of serious injuries.
"There are a number of items of interest in the large cordon area. We have about 25 staff on this trying to work out whether these items are relevant in the investigation."
The victim is yet to be formally identified.
A large cordon remains in place, and police say "there are a number of scenes."
Officers are working through information from the public and viewing CCTV from the area.