Friends and volunteers are continuing their search for a missing swimmer, despite the official search being called off.

Police last night suspended the official search for Eroni Ravaga-Gaunavou who was swimming with a small group of friends just north of Akitio, 85km southeast of Dannevirke, when he went under the water and did not resurface last Monday.

The former Fijian Sevens team member came to New Zealand two months ago to play for the Puketoi Rugby Club.

More than 100 people have been involved in the search for the 22-year-old.


Although the official police search had been called off, Sergeant Andy Brooke said many of Mr Ravaga-Gaunavou's friends would continue looking for him in the next few 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," Mr Brooke said.

A helicopter has scoured the beach line at every low tide since his disappearance, while boats and jet skis were out in the water yesterday.