A crewman who fell overboard from a fishing vessel off the Wellington coast has been named, as authorities abandon a search for him because of bad weather.

Sealord employee Pātahi Rewi Hawaikirangi Kāwana Jnr has been identified as the missing crewman who fell from FV Ōtākou, near Cape Palliser, yesterday morning.

The 25-year-old, from Hawke's Bay, is a deckhand and has been a crew member for the vessel for more than two years.

A statement from Sealord this evening confirmed the search for Kāwana, which had been going since mid-morning yesterday, would not be continued.


"Deteriorating weather conditions in the area have contributed to this decision,'' the company said.

"Maritime New Zealand suspended their search at approximately (8pm) yesterday. Two Sealord vessels remained in the area searching until the early hours of today when weather conditions made it unsafe to continue.''

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre has also been involved in the search for the young man.

Kāwana's next of kin have since been notified.

"Sealord is deeply saddened by this tragic event and extends their sympathy and support to the family and friends of Pātahi, crew of Ōtākou and Sealord staff.''

The company says it has now started its own investigation into the incident.