The skeletal remains of a body have been found in the Waikato River.

The body was discovered near the Meremere Wharf, 64km south east of Auckland, shortly before 9am yesterday when a master of a barge saw it in the water nearby.

Detectives, a police kaumatua, search and rescue and a Wellington-based Dive Squad recovered the body from the water just after 7pm.

Police said they were unable to speculate on the sex or identity of the person, other than to say the body was small in stature, because of the length of time it the body had been submerged.

The remains were transported to Auckland overnight and a variety of tests and a post-mortem examination were expected to be carried out early this week.