A body has been found off Cape Palliser near where a crew member went missing last month.
Detective Senior Sergeant Kevan Verry, Wellington Crime Squad, said a commercial fishing vessel recovered human remains off Cape Palliser on October 26.
"Police are working to determine the identity of the person and are reviewing open missing person files," he said.
A post mortem examination has been carried out and samples have been sent for further "forensic testing to identify the remains through DNA."
He was not on active duty at the time and was not wearing a lifejacket.
It was noticed Kāwana was missing when a full muster was conducted around mid-morning.
A statement from Sealord the following day confirmed the search for Kāwana had been called off due to deteriorating weather conditions in the area.
"Sealord is deeply saddened by this tragic event and extends their sympathy and support to the family and friends of Pātahi, crew of Ōtākou and Sealord staff," the statement read.
The 25-year-old was born in Hastings but moved with his family to Dargaville when he was a child.
When he was a teenager he spent time on the R Tucker Thompson, a sailing ship based in the Bay of Islands, and was involved in work experience aboard the vessel, helping out on day voyages.
"There are people on board from all different countries," he told the Northland Age in 2010.
"I get to show them how to sail the ship, and furl the topsails, which is pretty cool. The crew and this experience have been awesome."