Police have tonight suspended the official search for Eroni Ravaga Gaunavou, the popular young Fijian rugby player who failed to resurface while swimming with friends off Akitio Beach on Monday afternoon.

Sergeant Andy Brooke of Palmerston North Search and Rescue said although the official search has been suspended, Eroni's many friends drawn from throughout the community will continue their efforts in the coming days.

"The decision to officially suspend police involvement in the search was made after further sweeps following tonight's low tide. It's never an easy decision to suspend official searches but was made after a full assessment of the extensive efforts of the last week."

More than 100 people were involved in today's search but there has been no sign of the popular young 22-year-old.


"It's been an incredible response and there's been so many people volunteering their time and help. We've had farmers, volunteer fire fighters, members of rugby clubs, local business people and others from throughout the district all dropping everything to do their very best for Eroni and his family," Sergeant Brooke said.

A helicopter was used again at today's two low tides for sweeps of the points north and south of the point where Eroni was last seen. Boats and jet skis were also out on the water today.