A body recovered off Cape Palliser has been identified as that of a young man who fell overboard from a fishing vessel last month.

Police last night formally identified Pātahi Rewi Hawaikirangi Kāwana Jnr, after formal identification was carried out.

The 25-year-old, a Sealord employee, was working as a crewman on the FV Ōtākou near Cape Palliser when he fell overboard on the morning of October 11.

His body was found just over two weeks later, on October 26.


Kāwana, a deckhand, had worked as a crew member for the vessel for more than two years.

It is understood he was not on duty at the time; but that a search was sparked when he did not report for duty.

Around the time of the incident, Kāwana's grandmother, Lois Kāwana, described her grandson as a wonderful boy who loved the sea.

He always made sure to check in on his nana - messaging her whenever he spotted she was online.

"As a baby, as a little child, he was in my pocket.

"He would give you his last dime if you needed it,'' she told the Hawke's Bay Today.

Sealord released a statement paying tribute to their fallen colleague and his family after the incident.

"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.''


His death has been referred to the coroner.