Police have named the man who died in the Whanganui River on Tuesday.

He was Ruka Rangiahuta Broughton (Junior), 31, of Whanganui.

"Our thoughts are with his whānau at this very difficult time," a police spokesman said.

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

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

Broughton's death will be referred to the Coroner.

A rāhui will remain in place from three days from Tuesday, from Te Ao Hou marae on Somme Parade, past Pūtiki, and out to the river mouth.

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