Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man they believe murdered homeless Auckland man Maqbool Hussain - but need the public to help track him down.
Justin Vance Turner was on bail when Mr Hussain died, after being arrested for breaching his prison release conditions.
Police initially said Turner was a "person of interest" and could hold vital information.
But last night Detective Inspector Chris Cahill said a warrant had been issued to arrest Turner for the 49-year-old's murder.
Turner had fled Auckland, and Mr Cahill said it was possible he was as far south as Featherston on Friday night and Saturday morning.
"A man possibly fitting Justin Turner's description, albeit he was clean shaven, was offered and availed himself of accommodation at the rear of a private property in the town," he said.
"He was last seen walking north out of Featherston at about 7am Saturday morning.
"We are urging motorists, business and transport operators throughout the North Island and possibly further south to be aware of Justin Turner's description and image and to contact police immediately if he is seen or encountered.
"Turner should not be approached. Anyone who thinks they have given him a ride, food or accommodation in the past week should contact the investigation team."
Relatives of Mr Hussain found him dead in a garage behind a vacant greengrocer's shop on Dominion Rd on March 24.
Mr Cahill said Turner was "quite distinctive looking".
It was likely Turner has changed his appearance by shaving since the police photograph was taken.
He has a tattoo on his neck of a dog wearing a spiked collar, a prominent nose and "noticeably" olive skin with bushy eyebrows. Turner is about 1.76m in height and of medium build.
Mr Hussain was born and raised in Pakistan but had lived in New Zealand since 1992.
He is survived by his daughter, who lives overseas. It is understood his ex-wife is living in Samoa.
If you know where Justin Turner is, or have any information about the death of Maqbool Hussain, call 111. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- By Anna Leask of the New Zealand Herald