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Mystery surrounds identity of woman pulled dead from Wellington Harbour

Author
Melissa Nightingale, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Apr 2024, 12:42pm
The woman's body was found in Māhina Bay, Lower Hutt, on Sunday morning. (Photo / Melissa Nightingale)
The woman's body was found in Māhina Bay, Lower Hutt, on Sunday morning. (Photo / Melissa Nightingale)

Mystery surrounds identity of woman pulled dead from Wellington Harbour

Author
Melissa Nightingale, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Apr 2024, 12:42pm

A woman whose body was found in Wellington Harbour yesterday morning still hasn’t been identified, police say.

The woman, believed to be in her 60s or 70s, was found in Māhina Bay near the suburb of Eastbourne, Lower Hutt, on Sunday morning.

“She was clothed in activewear including a black hooded sweatshirt with white writing,” police said yesterday.

A spokesman today confirmed police were still working to identify the woman, despite a public plea for information the day before.

No other information could yet be revealed, including how long she is believed to have been in the water, and whether there was any indication of foul play.

Māhina Bay is a small area nestled among popular Lower Hutt suburbs Eastbourne and Days Bay. The affluent area has a rocky shoreline with patches of stony beaches.

It has a direct view across the harbour to Wellington city.

The woman's body was found in Māhina Bay, Lower Hutt, on Sunday morning. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

The woman's body was found in Māhina Bay, Lower Hutt, on Sunday morning. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

The woman’s death is one of a handful connected to Wellington Harbour in the past decade, many happening on the busy central city waterfront area.

Wellington City Council was last year investigating more fencing along the waterfront to deter people from accessing the wharf edge, after a spate of deaths in recent years.

Primary school teacher Isaac Levings was found dead in Wellington Harbour this time last year, having gone missing after a concert by the band The 1975 at TSB Arena.

The Elmwood Normal School community in Christchurch remembered him as a special teacher, an incredible sportsman and a respected friend.

Isaac Levings died at the Wellington waterfront after a concert at TSB Arena.

Isaac Levings died at the Wellington waterfront after a concert at TSB Arena.

“Isaac was a much-loved and respected teacher and friend. His loss sits heavy with us and the whole Elmwood Normal School community,” one parent said at the time.

In 2021, the body of 30-year-old Sandy Calkin was found in the water near Queens Wharf.

He was last seen by friends in Courtenay Place about 1am, and CCTV footage showed him walking north on Queens Wharf near Shed 6 a short time later.

Sandy Calkin was last seen by friends in Courtenay Place and was later pulled from the harbour.

Sandy Calkin was last seen by friends in Courtenay Place and was later pulled from the harbour.

A coroner’s inquest into his death is scheduled for this year.

Later that year three bodies were pulled from the harbour in less than a week, all believed to be from separate incidents.

One followed a report of a man missing in the water around Days Bay, while another man’s body was pulled from the water near the Boat Shed at the Wellington waterfront.

The deaths followed only two days after 23-year-old Jack Skellett’s body was retrieved from Wellington Harbour after he failed to return home from a kayaking trip that started in Petone.

In 2019, Ministry of Education employee Sarah Mayne drowned at the waterfront after an evening of drinking with a friend.

Sarah Mayne died during an evening drinking with a friend near Whairepo Lagoon.

Sarah Mayne died during an evening drinking with a friend near Whairepo Lagoon.

The friend had gone to get more wine for the pair, but could not find Mayne when he returned. He came back the next day to get his vape juice and cigarettes, and found Mayne dead on the shoreline of Whairepo Lagoon, a coroner’s report said.

In 2015, Finbarr Patrick Clabby’s body was also discovered at the waterfront by a family walking near the Queens Wharf/Jervois Quay area.

The night before his death, Clabby attended the Super Rugby final at Sky Stadium and was drinking through the evening with friends.

Jack Skellett, 23, drowned in December 2021 while on a solo kayaking trip in Wellington Harbour.

Jack Skellett, 23, drowned in December 2021 while on a solo kayaking trip in Wellington Harbour.

He died of drowning, but his death may also have been the result of a heart condition and the effects of alcohol, Coroner Tim Scott found.

Meanwhile others have also died jumping off a historic floating crane in the harbour.

The most recent was Army veteran and dad of three Jarreth Colquhoun, who was killed when he jumped off a historic floating crane in Wellington in January.

Finnbar Clabby also died in Wellington Harbour.

Finnbar Clabby also died in Wellington Harbour.

Colquhoun had jumped off the Hikitia Floating Crane, a 97-year-old structure permanently moored on a boat near the Taranaki St Dive Platform in Wellington Harbour.

The 33-year-old failed to surface, and his body was found the same afternoon. His death comes after a 20-year-old man died after jumping off the 45m crane on a night out drinking with friends in 2015.

Army vet Jarreth Colquhoun died after jumping off the Hikitia Floating Crane.

Army vet Jarreth Colquhoun died after jumping off the Hikitia Floating Crane.

Melissa Nightingale is a Wellington-based reporter who covers crime, justice and news in the capital. She joined the Herald in 2016 and has worked as a journalist for 10 years.

 

 

 

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