Australian Tourist Shot Dead In New Zealand After Being Woken From Sleep

An Australian man is dead and his horrified Canadian partner sprinted kilometres in search of help, after a terrifying alleged robbery in New Zealand over a campervan.

The 33-year-old man -- who has been identified as Sean McKinnon, from Nirranda in Victoria -- was found shot dead early on Friday morning at Raglan, about 150km south of Auckland on the west coast country's north island.

It has been reported that an alleged robber banged on the window of the van, in which the McKinnon and his Canadian partner were sleeping, demanding the keys before shooting the man.

Police said the attack was believed to be "random".

Victorian man Sean McKinnon, killed in New Zealand, with a woman believed to be his partner. Photo: Facebook

McKinnon was from southwest Victoria.

"Talented musician, genuine gentle man with a heart of gold," long-time friend Wayne Such told AAP.

Another friend Julian Smith told AAP McKinnon was a "lovable, knockabout Aussie guy" who loved his surfing.

"He loved to to surf big waves down the coast. He charged five metre waves," Smith said.

Sean McKinnon. Photo: Facebook

McKinnon's Facebook page reveals him as an adventurer, spending time at music festivals and travelling widely. Other photos show him and his partner at the beach, surfing and swimming.

One photo shows him posed in front of a VW campervan.

Social media shows the pair had been engaged since December 2017. McKinnon's partner, aged 32, lists her occupation as a midwife, and that she is from Nova Scotia. Her profile reports she studied at the University of Queensland

Police said she managed to escape the robber and is said to have run several kilometres in search of help, alerting police to the incident.

The van was stolen near Te Toto gorge, and found about 80 kilometres away. Photo: Google

The gunman drove the stolen van some 80 kilometres -- with the dead man still in the vehicle -- from Whaanga Road, Raglan to Gordonton Road, before dumping it.

The gunman is still on the run.

Waikato Police said they had been alerted to "a serious incident" around 3.20am on Friday, where shots had been fired. Police found the the man's body inside the van, believed to have been stolen, around 8am.

Officers said the victim is an Australian national, but have not been able to officially confirm his identity.

In a statement, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs told 10 daily it was "providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to the family of an Australian man who died in New Zealand."

"Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment."

Te Toto gorge, near where the van was stolen. Photo: Google Maps

"Police believe the vehicle, a White 2017 Toyota Hiace ZL registration KWF362, travelled from Whaanga Road to Gordonton Road this morning," NZ Police said.

"Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen the vehicle this morning or have any information that can assist us. If you think you have seen this vehicle or have information that may be helpful please contact Hamilton Police on 07 858 6200."

NZ Police update media on the incident.

The van was found about 70 kilometres from where it was reported stolen.

Police said they were working to inform the next of kin of the victim, and could provide no further details. Police will give an update to media around 12.30pm AEST.

File photo: Getty

More to come.