A toddler who drowned on Christmas day during a family outing in the Hawke's Bay had been missing for around an hour before his family realised.
Three-year-old Jimmy Atilua Laulu from Flaxmere was playing with his cousins at Ocean Beach, near Waimarama, while his parents were setting up other beach activities, Fairfax Media reports.
It was only by chance that his uncle, Daniel Lli, found his body after the family launched a panicked search for the young boy.
Mt Lli told Fairfax it was around 1pm or 2pm that the family started looking for Jimmy, and by 3pm they had found him in the middle of the river.
Mr Lli said two girls had seen something floating in under the water while they were out swimming and so he had gone to investigate.
"I went close to the middle of the river to look for him. While I was walking in the river I kicked someone under the water. I picked him up, and it was Jimmy."
The family then tried CPR on the boy for around an hour, but were unsuccessful.
Another uncle told Fairfax, it took around an hour for emergency services to arrive at the scene and there was no coverage for cell phones.
Jimmy has been described as a happy and funny little boy who had a good attitude.