Police and navy search teams who recovered a body believed to be Private Michael Ross from a Waiouru lake today have been applauded for their commitment to finding the soldier.
Ross, 29, fell overboard from an inflatable boat while on a training exercise on Lake Moawhango last Tuesday evening.
Inspector Steve Mastrovich said sonar equipment was used to locate the body which was found in about 40 metres of water this afternoon.
Divers and support craft brought the body to the surface shortly after 2.30pm and it has now been given to the Coroner to formally identify.
Waiouru headquarters training commander Colonel Evan Williams said he was proud of the way the search had been undertaken.
"At times, more than 100 personnel from NZ Police, NZ Army and the Royal New Zealand Navy have been helping with the search.
Williams said the lake was a difficult environment to search because of its depth, sediment and growth in the bottom layer.
"Everyone involved has showed immense professionalism and commitment to the search.
Ross said the search had been "very long and difficult" for the families and friends of Ross, and also for the people who assisted in the search.
"Although we would have wished for a happier outcome, we are just pleased that in recovering the body we are able to give some comfort to those who are grieving.
Ross said the search teams had worked tirelessly on the recovery mission.
The lake covers an area of around 400 hectares and goes down to a depth of 42 metres.
Ross, 29, from Kaitaia, was a carrying a machine gun when he disappeared but the New Zealand Defence Force said he was not wearing body armour or a pack. He fell overboard when travelling back across the lake from a live-firing training session.
Williams said Private Ross was travelling in an inflatable boat with eight others at the time of the incident. He was wearing a lifejacket and despite the efforts of his colleagues to save him, slipped under the water.
Ross was a Rifleman with 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) based at Linton. He joined the army in 2009, and has served in Timor Leste. He recently took part in the world's largest joint military exercise in Hawaii.
Williams said he was a ''quiet but determined'' man who took his role as a soldier seriously.
Williams said Ross was close to his family and spent many hours driving from Palmerston North to see them. He did not have children, but had a girlfriend.
A police investigation on behalf of the coroner into the circumstances of how the soldier was lost overboard will continue.