Hero dad named after dying rescuing son from the water in Seatoun, Wellington

A man who died after saving his son from drowning in Wellington Harbour on Saturday night has been named.

Valeliano Mita, aged 40, got into trouble after he "jumped into the water to save the child" in Seatoun, police said. Police also confirmed the two were father and son.

Emergency services were called to Seatoun Wharf just after 8:30pm. Mita was taken to Wellington Hospital in a critical condition, but died a short time later.

Police confirmed that Mita's son was assisted from the water by members of the public. The child remains in hospital but is expected to make a full recovery.

It was a bad weekend on the water for New Zealand.

On Sunday, police also released the names of a father and son who were found dead off the Wairarapa coast.

Darren Southon, 48, and Joshua Southon, 11, both of Masterton, had been out snorkelling on Friday, January 10 but failed to return. The Police National Dive Squad located the two bodies on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, the search for a missing kayaker at Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury resumed. The man, who was expected to return on Saturday morning, was reported overdue around midday.

His kayak was found at 2:30pm, but there was no sign of him.

Water Safety CEO Jonty Mills says people need to understand things can turn dangerous, very quickly.

"The toll so far over the whole summer period reflects the complex nature of drowning. The numbers have represented a really wide range of activities, age groups and water-based environments... one is one too many.

"The official holiday from December 24 to January 3 saw six preventable drownings, against a five-year average of eight."