Body found in Waikato River, believed to be missing man

updated By D'Angelo Martin

Police have found a body in the Waikato River after three days of searching for jetskier Calvin Harimate, who went missing on Saturday evening.

Harimate, 46, with whakapapa back to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāpuhi, was on the water with friends when the jet ski he was on took a sharp turn, forcing him into the water on Saturday night. It is not clear whether he was alone on the jet ski. 

A karakia was conducted below the Tuakau bridge when the Police National Dive Squad arrived from Wellington and launched its search boat into the river this morning. The karakia was to offer safe passage for the dive squad to conduct its search alongside whānau who are scouring the river and the river banks on foot, kayak, and small boats.

The search has been between Tūākau Bridge and Port Waikato. Harimate's vehicle was found at Atiken Rd, Onewhero.

A rāhui was put on the Waikato River early hours of Sunday morning by kaumatua George Katipa and Police cultural advisor Robert Clarke.

The rāhui will stay for seven days. It covers the Waikato River from Tūākau Bridge through to Port Waikato.

Police say they ave been supporting the family and a blessing and karakia was held at the site by local kaumātua today. 

A spokesman said police thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the man’s family, who have requested privacy at this difficult time.

The matter will be referred to the Coroner.

People had travelled from Northland, Auckland, and other parts of the Waikato area to help locate the missing man. More than 40 whānau members were reported to assist in the search yesterday and that number continued to grow during the day.