Family and friends of 22-year-old Freedom James Te Patu Taikato gathered on Matakana Island today to say their farewells to the young man who died on New Year's Day.

A team of police officers are involved in a homicide inquiry into his death as Taikato's funeral service was held on the island - the cause of death has not been made public.

Mourners gathered at Opureora Marae near the barge where Taikato was returned home on Thursday after a post-mortem examination, the results of which are not being made public.

A homicide investigation was launched due to the results of that post-mortem.


Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Rawlinson earlier told the Bay of Plenty Times that a team of 18 officers were involved in the homicide inquiry both on Matakana Island and in Tauranga.

"The investigation is still very much at the early stages, and we will be continuing our inquiries on Matakana Island over the coming days," he said.

Anyone who was at a temporary camping ground on Matakana Point Rd on New Year's Eve and on January 1 not already spoken to was urged to contact police.

Anyone with information should call Tauranga police on (07) 577 4300 or the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111.