The 26-year-old kayaker who died on the lower Kaituna River, near Rotorua, had competed at an international level in white water kayaking.
Police have identified the kayaker as 26-year-old Louise Jull.
Police said she was living in Rotorua and was a teacher at Western Heights High School.
She was a committed sportswoman who had competed internationally in her field.
Ms Jull was part of a group of three kayakers who were downstream of the Trout Pool, when she was became separated from her companions about 7pm yesterday near Okere Falls.
Police were notified about Ms Jull's disappearance after her companions noticed she was missing from her kayak.
The alarm was raised and a number of locals began a search for her. The search carried on until dark with no success.
Her body was found about 10am by rafters and police searching in the area where she was last seen. Police said local residents had been of great assistance.
A statement from Ms Jull's parents Adrian and Liz, and her older siblings Malcolm, Heather and Isobelle was released this afternoon:
"Louise was a white water and extreme kayaker of international reputation.
"The 2015 Kaituna and Wairoa extreme kayaking women's section was won by Louise and a second place was gained in the Citreon race in Otago just recently.
"Louise lived at Okere Falls and enjoyed the opportunities for kayaking that Lake Rotoiti and the Kaituna River provided.
"Louise was a well-respected, integral part of the Okere Falls, and indeed New Zealand, kayak community.
"Early kayaking days were focused on white water slalom kayaking in which Louise represented New Zealand internationally.
"A positive role model for women in sport and a strong advocate for women in kayaking.
Louise had started on a career in secondary teaching at a local Rotorua high school this year.
"Teaching young paddlers was an extra activity that Louise took great pleasure in; this will be one of her legacies to kayaking. Yesterday Louise was paddling a lower section of the Kaituna River that she had paddled a number of times without mishap.
"The incident was a chance accident involving a highly skilled paddler practicing her sport.
"The two paddlers with her were very experienced, but despite their efforts they were unable to retrieve the situation.
"The family acknowledges a deep gratitude to the two other paddlers and to the wider community who turned out to assist in the search and rescue this morning."