The tangi for the 22-year-old man at the centre of a homicide inquiry is taking place on Matakana Island as a team of police continue to investigate the death.

Freedom James Te Patu Taikato, of Matakana Island, died on the island on New Year's Day, following an incident, acting Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Rawlinson earlier said.

Freedom's family and other whanau have gathered at Opureora Marae on the island near the barge where his body was returned home yesterday after a post mortem examination.

Rawlinson told the Bay of Plenty Times that a team of 18 officers were involved in the inquiry and officers were continuing to work on Matakana Island and in Tauranga.


"The investigation is still very much at the early stages, and we will be continuing our inquiries on Matakana Island over the coming days," he said.

The funeral service for Freedom will be held on Matakana Island tomorrow.

Rawlinson said Freedom's family had requested privacy at this traumatic time and the cause of death would not be made public at this time.

Anyone who was at a temporary camping ground on Matakana Point Rd on New Year's Eve and on January 1 not already spoken to was urged to contact police.

Anyone with information should call Tauranga Police on (07) 577 4300 or the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111.