A post mortem in Auckland answered some of the questions arising from the discovery of a man's body in the Awanui River, beneath the bridge in Allen Bell Drive, on Tuesday afternoon.

The body was discovered by children shortly after 1pm, the officer in charge of the investigation, acting Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Dalzell, saying police believed they knew his identity, but had yet to complete the formal identification process. Next of kin had been informed, however.

The deceased was later named as 35-year-old Kaitaia man Aaron Mark Roycroft.

Mr Dalzell said on Tuesday, and again yesterday, that the death was being investigated as "unexplained." He was unable to say there was no possibility of foul play, but was increasingly doubtful that there was.


Once the post mortem results were received he stated that there were no suspicious circumstances, and Mr Roycroft's death had been referred to the coroner.

Initially it was suspected that the deceased was a local man who had been reported missing by his family on Monday.

"Quite understandably his family were extremely concerned when the body was found on Tuesday, fearing that it might have been him," he said.

Initial identification had discounted that, however, and the 'missing' man had subsequently been located.

Extracting the body from the river had not been quick or easy, however, requiring specialist assistance and an inflatable boat from Far North Surf Rescue.

"It took a bit of time, but eventually we were able to tell the first family that the body was not that of their loved one," he said.

The body was removed late on Tuesday afternoon, but the cordons, at both ends of the bridge, were still in place on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile Mr Dalzell understood that the children who found the body were none the worse for their experience, but would be referred to Victim Support if they wished to avail themselves of that assistance.