Emotional scenes at vigil for missing Wellington kayaker Koyren Campbell

The family of missing kayaker Koyren Campbell held an emotional vigil on Saturday, praying they get his body back.

The 22-year-old went missing last weekend after going fishing.

More than 100 people gathered at Wellington's Tarakena Bay, where Koyren set out fishing last Sunday in a kayak - a trip he never returned from.

Whanau, friends, coworkers and search and rescue attended the vigil, sharing prayers, tears and messages of love.

Koyren's mother, Amanda Campbell, was among those paying tribute.

"I'm grateful that Koyren was my son... and [that] I had him for 22 years," Amanda told Newshub.

"He was doing what he loved, and I'm so proud of him."

Amanda was also proud of Toni, Koyren's girlfriend of four years.

"He found the love of his life, which was Toni. I would cry out to him, 'Koyren, fight to get back to Toni'."

Koyren Campbell.
Koyren Campbell. Photo credit: Supplied

Now, Koyren's family and friends are praying to Tangaroa, god of the sea, for his body to return from the ocean.

"We're asking him - we're pleading him - please. Give our fish back," Wellington kaumātua Kura Moeahu said.

Police found Koyren's clothes on the seafloor on Tuesday, but on Friday they called off the search.

"Gutted. Too soon," Koyren's boss David Downer said.

On Saturday, Downer set out to find him, alongside volunteers searching Wellington Harbour by jetski, looking for a lifejacket, paddle or body.

"We can't stop till we find somebody or find something, you know, and that's what it is," Downer said.

Others joined the search on land, some coworkers of Koyren, others strangers who didn't know him.

Big swells and powerful winds made the search effort difficult, but volunteers will be back on Sunday to try and bring him home.

Until then, Koyren's family and friends will be waiting for their taonga - treasure - to return from the sea.