Search for missing man suspended

PAUL EASTON AND TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 08:59 13/01/2014

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The search for a man missing in Wellington Harbour has been suspended.

Upper Hutt man Uikilifi Peniamina, 49, was knocked overboard in rough waters eight days ago, near the mouth of the Hutt River.

An intensive search failed to find any trace of him.

Last week the navy's remote sonar torpedo was brought in to scour the harbour floor.

One object of interest was found, which turned out to be a tree stump.

No further targets were identified, Wellington police spokesman Nick Bohm said.

The search had been suspended, he said.

It could resume if any items of interest were found.

Family members had been informed of the decision, and appreciated the efforts made to find Mr Peniamina, he said.

Mr Peniamina's uncle Ieti Tiatia said the missing man had seven children ranging in age from three to 22.

He had lived in the Wellington region for 25 years.

"We are all hoping he will be found."

The family was planning a memorial service for Mr Peniamina.

Mr Tiatia praised the police, navy and the Westpac helicopter crew for their efforts to find Mr Peniamina.

On behalf of the family he called on all boaties to wear life jackets in small boats.

"People who go to sea in small boats must dress appropriately. You cannot face the sea by yourself. If you don't dress appropriately the sea will always win," Mr Tiatia said.

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- The Dominion Post

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