Police have named a young mother who was murdered and found in a Whangarei stream.

Ashlee Louise-Anne Edwards, 21, was found face down on rocks in Waiarohia Stream near the city's main shopping area about 4am on Friday.

She had two children aged 2, and 4 months.

A 29-year-old man appeared in Whangarei District Court on Saturday charged with murder.

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Police are searching for a mobile phone they believed had been in Ms Edward's possession before her death.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dene Begbie said police were still seeking public assistance and wanted to hear from anyone who was in the area about 2am on Friday.

"It may be that these people have not seen or heard anything but we still need to identify who they are and confirm the timing of their movement as we piece together the movements of the victim," he said in a statement.

- Herald Online staff