Police say they can't rule out foul play following the discovery of a body in the surf at Mt Maunganui this morning.
The man has been identified as Benjamin Christopher Dahlkamp, a 45-year-old from Tauranga.
Police are continuing to provide support to his family.
Dahlkamp was spotted by a member of the public who called police just before 8am.
A reporter at the scene said the body looked to be of average build, fully dressed in dark clothing.
Dahlkamp's body was found between Leisure Island and the main beach, in front of the viewing platform, and had to be retrieved from the water.
Mt Maunganui Surf general manager Glenn Bradley confirmed the club had helped move the body to the hearse, by the surf club at the base of the Mount.
Local Eben Sinclair said it had taken about six people to lift the body onto the Mt Maunganui surf club ute.
"It looked pretty heavy," he said.
"It seems so surreal."
The body was driven along the beach about 450m to the Mt Maunganui surf club, and transferred into a waiting hearse.
Police are appealing for anyone with information on Mr Dahlkamp's movements over the last day or so to contact Tauranga Police on 07-577 4300.