Gulf Harbour body: Chilling new details released as police rule out Yanfei Bao is victim

Police have revealed that the body found in Auckland's Gulf Harbour was wearing pyjamas and is not missing Christchurch woman Yanfei Bao.

Police also confirmed that they are working with Interpol in their investigations into the woman's death. 

A local recreational fisherman discovered the body inside multiple plastic bags while out fishing on Tuesday afternoon.  

A homicide investigation was then launched on Thursday after a post-mortem examination. Police have not been able to confirm the identity of the victim but said she was a female believed to be of Asian descent, possibly Chinese, and small in stature.

Despite a public appeal for information on Thursday police have still not been able to identify the victim. 

On Friday, police released more information about her in hopes of identifying her.

Acting Detective Inspector Tim Williams said she was around 160cm tall and wearing blue pyjama bottoms and a singlet. He would not confirm her age but said she was not a child nor a teenager.

"These are blue pyjama pants with a distinct pattern on them, and a brand's emblem on a light-coloured singlet," Det Insp Williams said.

"We hope that in releasing these images someone will come forward with information on who this victim might be."

He said she was wrapped in "black plastic clean sacks". 

Acting Detective Inspector Tim Williams.
Acting Detective Inspector Tim Williams. Photo credit: Newshub.

Police said they are continuing to treat this matter very seriously and are determined to hold the person, or persons, responsible for her death to account.

"We do appreciate how unsettling this incident is for both the Gulf Harbour and wider community and we want to reassure you we do not believe there is a wider risk to the public in relation to this death," Det Insp Williams said.

Police have ruled out that the victim is Yanfei Bao from Christchurch, who has been missing since July 2023.

"Our teams across the country have made enquiries into this possibility, but we can rule out that this victim is Ms Bao," Det Insp Williams said.

The victim was located wearing these pyjama pants.
The victim was located wearing these pyjama pants. Photo credit: NZ Police

Police's next priority will be to identify and notify the victim's next of kin.

"She could be somebody's mother, sister or even grandmother," Det Insp Williams said.

"We want to reassure the community our investigation is continuing to establish the facts to ascertain the full circumstances around the death of this woman," Det Insp Williams said.

"This includes establishing when, where, and how, however, the nature of this discovery provides some complexities to the investigation."

The branding on the victim's singlet. The label on the singlet is a Chinese clothing brand generally sold in China, not in New Zealand.
The branding on the victim's singlet. The label on the singlet is a Chinese clothing brand generally sold in China, not in New Zealand. Photo credit: NZ Police

A dedicated phone line has been set up for the case. The community can contact police on 0800 755 021 to speak directly to the investigation team.

"We are continuing to ask anyone who may have information on a woman matching the description who they have concerns for to please get in touch," Det Insp Williams said.

"Additionally, anyone who was near the water, between Gulf Harbour and Long Bay in the last few days who saw anything of concern to contact us.

"If you have a property facing the water, we ask that you check your CCTV, and call police if there is anything of note.

"No piece of information is too little as we work to establish what has occurred."

People can also provide information via the 105 phone service or online at, using Update My Report. Please reference file number 240312/9837. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police said it will continue to provide further proactive updates as our investigation allows.


At about 3pm on Tuesday, Paul Middleton was in Whangaparaoa to do some fishing when he reeled in an object wrapped in plastic bags.

He pulled the bag up onto the shore thinking it may have been a log or a dead animal, but what he saw instead was something far more shocking.

"I thought maybe someone's chucked their meat waste away… lo and behold a hand appears," Middleton said.

Middleton called the police who cordoned off the area.

The police told media they were treating the death as "unexplained", however, the case was upgraded to a homicide investigation on Thursday after new details emerged about the body.

On Thursday, police made a public appeal for information to help identify the victim. 

On Friday, police called a media stand-up, where they shared photographs of the victim's clothing. 

Police have still not identified the victim.