Police say they got no response from a soldier holed up in an army house during an armed stand off at Linton Military Camp in the hours before he was found dead.
The 23-year-old soldier is believed to have taken his own life during the siege, which lasted more than four hours, at the military base near Palmerston North on Friday.
Tear gas canisters were fired into the barricaded house in the afternoon, but when the armed offenders squad entered about 2pm they found the man dead, Central District Police Manager of Operations Inspector David White told media.
Police had not fired any shots.
The soldier's name and rank have not yet been released.
The incident started about 9.30am when a single shot was reported from the house.
The soldier involved in the stand-off was understood to have been drinking in Palmerston North overnight, before a colleague drove him back to the army base about 1am.
Following the siege, police, in a statement, said all attempts to contact the man received no response.
"We are saddened that this has ended in tragedy and our thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this difficult time," said Central Districts police operations manager, Inspector Dave White.
Police were not available to say whether a weapon was found at the house, or why the soldier had barricaded himself in.
Brigade Major Rob Loftus, in the same statement, said the Defence Force was also deeply saddened by the soldier's death.
"Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of the soldier concerned at this difficult time."
He said the soldier had not deployed overseas during his time with the army.
The death will now be referred to the coroner.