An elderly man whose body was found in the water near Picton has been named by police.

He was 77-year-old Roger Thomas Stevenson of Auckland.

Stevenson's body was found by a friend in the water in Waikawa Bay, shortly before midnight on Thursday.

The group of friends were on a charter boat trip and had moored at Waikawa Marina.

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His body was found by the boat ramp.

The death has been referred to the coroner.