A New Zealand boy, whose mother was burned to death on a roadside in a suspected honour killing is at the centre of an international manhunt.

It is feared Ranjeeta Sharma, 28, was the victim of an honour killing, after her charred body was found on a rural road, near Huntly in Waikato, New Zealand.

Police are said to be following leads that her husband flew to Fiji with their son, Akash, a day after her body was recovered, after finding Sharma’s car at Auckland airport.

New Zealand police are now working with Interpol to retrieve the child.

Sharma and her husband are both Fijian nationals.

Investigation head Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall said the woman’s husband was “a person of considerable significance” in the investigation.

New Zealand police would not comment on a motive.

On Sharma’s Facebook page she posted a photo of herself and Akash in December, writing: “my little boy my life”.

Sharma’s profile on the social networking site reads that she is married, studied at the Manukau Institute of Technology, worked at Middlemore Hospital and is from Suva in Fiji.

Rachel Gapes, who was Sharma’s classmate when they studied a healthcare course at the Manukau-based training provider Corporate Academy Group, said she was a “quite friendly” woman who “used to keep her personal life away from the class”, Stuff.co.nz reported.

“I know she was determined to finish the course. She was sometimes shy but very determined.She was very helpful.”

Gapes said she had not met Mrs Sharma’s husband, but she had met her son, who was “always happy to see his mum”.

Former neighbour, Neville Callander, said the family had lived in a small townhouse in Manurewa for about three months last year, stuff.co.nz reported.

He said he would say hello over the fence to Mrs Sharma, who he said was “friendly, but timid”, and would see her playing with her young son.

Sharma was employed at Middlemore Hospital, in South Auckland. Her husband was a courier.

Callander said he came home to find the couple had left one Saturday about six months ago. He understood they left with rent owing.

Honour killing is a type of murder carried out in the Indian subcontinent when the victim was seen to have brought shame upon the family.