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The man whose body was pulled out of Wellington Harbour is formerly of Dunedin.
Graham Kenneth Hutcheon (57), of Upper Hutt, is believed to have died after falling off the Interislander ferry on Sunday night.
His body was spotted near the entrance to the harbour on Monday morning.
His death has been referred to the coroner. Mr Hutcheon attended Forbury School, Macandrew Intermediate and King's High School.
A friend said Mr Hutcheon was a talented sportsman, and had represented Otago in junior football.
He left school at 15 to join the New Zealand Railways as an office clerk in Dunedin.
He later became an assistant purser on the interisland ferries.
Mr Hutcheon later established several successful business ventures in the United Kingdom, including a bar in Soho aimed at travellers from New Zealand and Australia, his friend said.
With his former wife, he started a public relations firm and ran that for several years, before he returned to New Zealand.
He last lived in Dunedin a decade ago, before moving to Wellington to be closer to his ex-wife and their son and daughter.
Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Sears, of Wellington, said police were awaiting the final results of a postmortem that was completed on Tuesday.
''We are continuing to work with the Interislander to establish if he was a passenger on the 8pm sailing on Sunday.''
Police had also seized his vehicle, which was found a short distance from the ferry terminal, he said.
Mr Hutcheon's family have requested privacy.