Australian shot dead in NZ random attack

An Australian man has been shot dead in a random attack in New Zealand, with local police launching a major manhunt to find the gunman.

The 33-year-old man was killed while sleeping in a campervan in Raglan, outside of Hamilton, just after 3am on Friday.

"This is a tragic incident. Inquiries indicate that this was a random attack," Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley told reporters in Hamilton on Friday.

A 32-year-old Canadian woman was in the campervan and ran several kilometres to raise the alarm.

Police said the man's body was found in the stolen campervan abandoned on Gordonton Road in Hamilton, 80km away from the Raglan crime scene.

Police want to hear from any witnesses who saw the campervan after the shooting.

The gunman reportedly demanded the keys to the campervan before shooting the Australian "more than once".

Det Insp Pitkethley said police are working on the assumption the gunman is still armed.

Forensic police are examining the campervan for evidence.