A man has died during a kayaking incident on the Tongariro River.

Emergency services were sent to the Waikato Falls in the Kaimanawa Forest Park after receiving a call from the member of the public about a kayaker in trouble at 10.20am.

An operation to rescue the man was launched however his body was found in the water around 12:40pm.

A rescue helicopter was also sent to the area.


Efforts by police and the LandSAR Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation to retrieve the body are under way.

According to waterfalls.co.nz the Waikato Falls is a 5-metre high cascade style waterfall.

It is upstream of Poutu intake on the Tongariro River, off the Desert Rd, about 10km south of Turangi.

Rafting New Zealand managing director Luke Boddington said he knew the area from kayaking it himself in his free time.

"There is a gorge, the Waikato Falls gorge and there are actually some really dangerous rapids above the waterfall.

"Not many people, if anyone attempts the rapids.

He said the Waikato Falls were above the rafted section and had nothing to do with the commercial section.

"The actual waterfall itself is the exit for the Waikato Falls Gorge...It flows into a nice big pool and it is above what's known as the Poutu Dam but you have plenty of time to get out before the dam."


He said he was shocked to hear that someone had died nearby.

"Generally what you do is you put into the gorge just above the waterfall and you run off the fall into the pool."