Weather conditions prevent further search for missing kayaker

Weather conditions prevent further search for missing kayaker

Missing kayaker - Hamish Alexander Robert Duncan

The National Police Dive Squad used a Police owned radial sonar at Lake Coleridge on Friday and Saturday last week (10 and 11 April 2015) as part of an ongoing Canterbury Police SAR led search and recovery operation for the kayaker who went missing on 4 April 2015.

On Sunday the team attempted to search the area with an underwater camera.  Unfortunately driving rain, nor-west winds and heavy swell forced the team to return to shore.  The arrival of the forecasted cold front led to the divers returning to Wellington on Sunday night.

Canterbury Police are now able to name the missing kayaker.  He was 20 year old Private Hamish Alexander Robert Duncan from Hawke’s Bay. 

This matter has been referred to the Coroner. 

A family spokesperson has provided the following statement and attached photograph 

We as a family are heartbroken. Hamish Alexander Robert Duncan is missing, presumed drowned after a recreational boating accident a Lake Coleridge on April 4th 2015. Sadly, deteriorating weather conditions overwhelmed him while he was on the lake.  He was a most dearly loved son of Barb and Rob, brother of Mark, Ben and William. He will also be hugely missed by his grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, and many, many friends.

We all, as a family, are so appreciative of the care and love we have received from Hamish’s Defence Force friends and all of the NZ Army. We will be eternally grateful for their support. We are also grateful to the Military, Police, and the Navy in their search for Hamish at Lake Coleridge, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Hamish was loving his time in the Military and Basic Training was a challenge that he was proud to have achieved. He had commenced his training as a medic within the NZ Army, and the camaraderie he was enjoying with his friends on the course was all a young man could wish for. We have been fortunate to meet many of his classmates who are a credit to their families and the services.

We are grateful for the continuing support and prayers we have received and will carry Hamish with us in our hearts forever.

A spokesperson from NZDF has provided the following statement

It is with deep sadness that the personnel at Defence Health School and the wider NZ Army will farewell Private Hamish Duncan after the search has found (or has failed to find) him at Lake Coleridge.

His peers at Defence Health School will remember him as an outgoing, talented, smart and kind young man.  The Defence Force will continue to support Hamish’s colleagues and his family throughout this difficult time.

At the request of Hamish’s family, friends and colleagues, we ask that their privacy is respected during this time while they say their goodbyes. No further information will be issued at this time.

Canterbury Police are currently reviewing and evaluating the search for the missing kayaker in consultation with the Coroner and members of the Police National Dive Squad.

An update will be provided once this review has been completed.


Issued by:  Lisa-Marie Brooks, District Communications Manager, Canterbury Police District.  Mobile: 021 942 404