Southland police investigate Breaksea deaths

  • 27/02/2016

A community on the Otago Peninsula is mourning the loss of one of its members at sea in a tragedy that claimed two lives.

Police have identified two fisherman and a vessel lost in Fiordland yesterday.

Emergency services found the first body along with the wreckage of the FV Marina in Breaksea Sound yesterday afternoon, prompting a wider search that led to the discovery of the second body later in the evening.

Today police said they wanted to hear from people on vessels who may have seen the FV Marina.

The dead men have been identified by media and on social media as Matenga Taiaroa, 81, and Jim Hanson, believed to have been in his 60s.

Mr Taiaroa is the cousin of George Taiaroa, who was shot dead almost three years ago while working with a roading crew north of Taupo.

Mr Taiaroa and Mr Hanson were experienced fishermen and their vessel had had a mechanical problem, the Otago Daily Times reports.

Mr Taiaroa is from Otakou on the Otago Peninsula. The local Two iwi posted a message on its Facebook paying tribute to him.

"Much aroha to the Taiaroa whanau with their loss of Te Matenga Taiaroa," the post said.

Mr Taiaroa was a well-respected elder and was also related to the Ellison family, who launched Otakou Fisheries in the 1940s, the Southland Times reports.

Mr Taiaroa's brother and grandfather had also died at sea.