Mystery surrounds the identify of a man's body that was found in the Kaituna River at the weekend.

Police told the Rotorua Daily Post yesterday the man's body will undergo a post mortem today to hopefully give more clues as to why it was in the river and how he died.

Detective Sergeant Tony Colby said the man was found by kayakers about 3pm on Saturday downstream from the Okere Falls bridge on State Highway 33.

The man is described as an adult, possibly Caucasian, short and of medium build.


He is wearing a checked long sleeve shirt with a 'Woodstock' shield-style emblem on the left shoulder. He is also wearing long dark pants and blue running shoes.

Mr Colby said he might have been in the water for a number of days or longer.

"At this stage it is unknown how he came to be in the river or how he died. We are treating it as an unexplained death at this stage, not a suspicious death."

Mr Colby said there was nothing obvious on the man's body to indicate how he had died and it was too soon to speculate.

He said it was a shame no one had yet come forward to identify the man, but it might not be unusual as some people didn't have regular contact with family or friends.

"If people know of someone they haven't seen or heard from in a few days, a week or more, it would be good to make contact.

"We would have hoped the distinctive clothing would help identify him.

"Not everyone has close family contacts and there could be a good reason this person hasn't been missed yet by anyone."


Mr Colby said the police wanted to hear from anyone who had seen a man matching the description in the Okere Falls area during the last week or so.

"He may have been out there walking or fishing."

The spot on the Kaituna River, where a body was found at the weekend. Photo / Ben Fraser
The spot on the Kaituna River, where a body was found at the weekend. Photo / Ben Fraser

The Okere Falls includes a seven metre drop and was believed to be one of the highest commercially rafted waterfalls in the world.

Mr Colby said the person who found the body was naturally surprised.

"It was a member of the public and they are fine but it's not a pleasant thing to find when you are out on the river."

The Fire Service helped the police get the man's body out of the water.


Kayaking companies contacted by the Rotorua Daily Post said the body was not found by any of their staff members, and one said it understood the person who discovered the body was a private kayaker.

A manager at the Okere Falls Store said they had heard about the body being found but knew no further information.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Rotorua police on (07) 348 0099. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on (0800) 555 111.

- Additional reporting by Georgina Harris