Tim Mair's body found

By Genevieve Helliwell

The family of a Katikati man are beginning to make funeral arrangements after his body was found off Whiritoa beach.

Forensic testing confirmed the body belonged to 52-year-old Tim Mair.

Mr Mair, 52, disappeared after a boating accident off Bowentown Heads on Monday, January 28. He and four others had been wake-boarding in the harbour before they began trawling on the bar.

Family members said the 20ft boat ended up side-on to the waves and was subsequently tipped over.

Mr Mair was swept away while his 23-year-old daughter Kaitlin Mair, 15-year-old son, 7-year-old grandson, and a 14-year-old friend swam to Matakana Island. The four children were rescued by a passing boatie.

Mr Mair's body was found on Thursday evening floating about 200m off Whiritoa beach.

His father, Selwyn Mair, said he received news yesterday afternoon that the body had been positively identified as his son.

"It has been confirmed it is Tim. My grandson [Tim's son] has just rang me and told me.

"It's definitely a huge loss, a terrible loss and he will be missed by his family, children and grandchildren."

Mr Mair said it was "a heck of a relief to find him" and it allowed the family to begin to get closure after "a very stressful time".

Police took Tim Mair's toothbrush and a sweatshirt to be forensically tested. The Mair family did not have to identify the body.

"He was a much-loved family man and he will be hugely missed," his father said.

The dead man had four children and two grandchildren. After the body was spotted by a member of the public, the Whangamata Coastguard and two on-call lifeguards from Whiritoa and Whangamata Surf Lifesaving Clubs were called to recover the body and bring it back to shore.

Waikato police Search and Rescue co-ordinator, Constable Dave Pitchford, said the body was taken to Waikato Hospital for forensic examinations.

The undertaker is expected to bring Mr Mair's body back to Katikati this morning. A family meeting will be held today.

"During the search we had lifeguards, volunteer firefighters and search and rescue staff as well as Coastguard and mine rescue personnel all working to assist [us].

"Then [on Thursday] night, thanks to a call from the public, a number of volunteers mobilised again to assist police in the body recovery.

"These often unsung heroes are repeatedly giving their time to the benefit of their wider communities and from a police perspective their efforts are very appreciated."

The Mair family would also like to thank everyone who was involved in the search.

Mr Selwyn Mair said: "We just want to pay tribute to all the people that have been involved. And all the kindness and thoughtfulness from people all around the place."With Amy McGillivray

It's definitely a huge loss, a terrible loss and he will be missed by his family, children and grandchildren.Selwyn Mair, father


- Bay of Plenty Times

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