A section of the Shotover River has been "renamed" in honour of Moana-Roa Keith "Chief" Haare, who died while guiding a rafting trip on Friday.

Arriving by helicopter, kayak and raft, people from the rafting industry, family and friends gathered at Haare's favourite spot on the river, above where he died, to pay tribute.

Haare's fellow rafting guides designed and carved a wooden memorial plaque and took turns to carve a pair of wooden paddles, which were placed at an old miner's chimney located beside the river.

More than 70 people gathered at the Shotover River to pay tribute to Moana-Roa 'Chief' Haare.
More than 70 people gathered at the Shotover River to pay tribute to Moana-Roa 'Chief' Haare.

Queenstown Rafting general manager Luke Taylor said it would not be easy to see while people headed down the rapids, but the guides would see it every day on their way back after checking the river rapids.

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The group of more than 70 people partook in a karikia, an "emotional" haka, and cast leaves, flowers and ferns into the river as tribute.

To honour Haare, Queenstown Rafting changed the name of the "Mother" section of the river to the "Moana-Roa Chief" section.

The carved wooden paddles and plaque in the old miner's chimney near the river.
The carved wooden paddles and plaque in the old miner's chimney near the river.

Police on Sunday night said preliminary postmortem examination results indicated Haare died from a medical event.

Queenstown Rafting will restart operations tomorrow after Maritime New Zealand suspended its investigation.