The body of a man has been found by police divers in the Whanganui River this afternoon.

Police were called about 3.15am today when a man was seen in distress in the water near Anzac Parade.

Whanganui Acting Area Commander Inspector Sue O'Neil said the body was found just before 4.30pm.

She said a formal identification process will now take place.

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Local iwi have performed a blessing near the site where the body was found, and a rāhui will remain in place from three days, from Te Ao Hou marae on Somme Parade, past Pūtiki, and out to the river mouth.