The niece of a man whose body was never found after he slipped into the water fishing at Papanui Point 48 years ago says too many lives have been lost at the same dangerous rocks.

Robyn-Jane Wren was only 12 when her uncle Jack McNeish McCracken, 53, lost his footing on the rocks on May 31, 1970, but she still remembers the imprint it left on her and her family at the time.

His long-time friend Peter Kohu, who was a newspaper storeman, also lost his fishing life at the same rocks along the Raglan cost 14 years later.

Wren has spoken out about the tragedy that struck her family as a search for 17-year-old Jack Macnicol continues after he was swept off the rocks on Saturday afternoon while fishing with family members. His devastated family are holding hope he will be found.


Senior sergeant Vince Ranger said a land search of the shoreline about 2km either side of Papanui Point was carried out again today and another would resume tomorrow for the fifth day. The Land Search and Rescue team was joined by a group of Macnicols also scouring the area for him.

Wren said it was upsetting to hear of more lives being lost there.

"It does make me sad to hear of further casualties as the place looks dangerous and there are signs, from memory, giving warning, yet people still ignore the warnings and fish from there anyway," Wren said.

She said it was particularly hard on her family when her uncle's body was never recovered and she recalled his faithful dog called Shotdog waiting at the spot he last stood for him to return.

"I remember strongly the imprint of that time as he was my father's closest brother.

"The pull to hook the big one is strong in many ... it is not a place for the casual fishing expedition in my opinion."

McCracken slipped down the left face of Papanui Point and into the water.

His family did not believe he was not caught out by the sea.


"Still the area is treacherous and whenever I am there (which is not often these days) I feel very apprehensive and nervous as it always feels dangerous to me."

She urged people fishing there to wear lifejackets or some other safety equipment.

"Too many people have died - this young man will be the 20th I think."