A kayaker has expressed his sorrow at not being able to bring his fellow paddler home, after the man died when he became trapped underwater near Whangarei.
Ladislav Svarc, 29, was one of four kayakers who entered the Wairoa River, about 25km from Whangarei, about 1.30pm on Saturday.
The group went over a waterfall about 5 metres high, and Svarc, a Czech national, struggled at the base of the falls and became caught in the rapids.
Police said his friends managed to reach him, pull him up a cliff and perform CPR but they were unable to revive him.
Just hours before, Svarc had posted a photo to Facebook of him and two friends standing in front of a waterfall with the comment "running this beast again with some extra water! Wahoo".
Nick Gordon commented on Svarc's photo last night, extending his condolences to Svarc's family and friends, saying "I was on the river with Ladi yesterday and couldn't bring him home."
"Ladi you were one of the good cats in life. So full of life...You died following your passion and we hope you live your next journey to the fullest as you did this one. RIP Brother."