Gulf Harbour body in plastic bag: Description of victim released, homicide probe launched

Police have launched a homicide investigation and revealed details about the body that was found in Auckland's Gulf Harbour earlier this week.  

It comes after a local recreational fisherman discovered the body in a bag while out fishing on Tuesday afternoon.   

In an update on Thursday, Acting Detective Inspector Tim Williams of Waitematā confirmed a homicide investigation has been launched and is asking the public for assistance to identify the body.  

A photo from the scene from where the human remains were found.
A photo from the scene from where the human remains were found. Photo credit: Newshub

Williams said a post-mortem examination has been completed and Police are now in a position to provide some details about the victim.   

"At this stage, we have not been able to confirm the identity of the victim, but we can say they are a female of Asian-descent, possibly Chinese, and small in stature," Williams said.  

"Police are asking anyone who may have information on a woman matching the description who they have concerns for to please get in touch."  

Williams said the priority of police is to identify the body and notify the victim's next of kin while also investigating what led to the woman's death.  

"We understand there is significant public interest in this matter, however until we have made further enquiries, we will not be speculating on what has occurred," Williams said.  

"Police appreciate this is very unsettling for both the Gulf Harbour and wider community and we reiterate we do not believe there is a wider risk to the public in relation to this death." 

Police are now calling on the public's help to identify who the person is.  

"We would like to thank those who have already come forward and given us information," Williams said.  

"Anyone who was near the water in the last few days, or in the Gulf Harbour area, who saw anything suspicious or of concern should get in touch with Police as soon as possible. No piece of information is insignificant as we work to determine exactly what has occurred." 

Police can be contacted via their 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. 

The man who found the body told RNZ about the moment he found the human remains.   

He described the bag as heavy but easy to move and decided to investigate. 

"[I] took the hook out and thought, 'Right, let's see if it's a bag of rubbish and I need to dump it in a rubbish bin or something,'" he told RNZ. 

He struggled through "layer and layer" of plastic to open the bag and "lo and behold, a hand appears".  

The man told the state broadcaster it looked "like a Halloween-type hand".