Puketoi Rugby Club's number 14 jersey has been retired after efforts to find the body of the player who went missing while swimming off Akitio beach have failed.
Fiji's Eroni Gaunavou, 22, went missing on Easter Monday while swimming with friends, and search parties continued to look for him until Sunday.
A base was set up at the Akitio Boating Club for volunteers, with food donated by the local community and a helicopter used on some days.
Gaunavou's immediate family arrived on Thursday from Fiji after the community rallied together to pay for their flights.
Puketoi president Bruce Bowie said they decided to cease searching on Sunday, although there would be parties continuing once a week for the next few weeks if there was the man power to support it.
"The family is at ease with everything that's been done," he said.
"They have totally accepted that their son has been lost at sea." Bowie said he had made the decision to retire Gaunavou's rugby jersey.
One jersey has been given to his family, and the other would be hung in the club rooms with a photo and a few citations about Gaunavou.
Gaunavou's father, Banuve, also plans to play about 10 minutes of Puketoi's game on Saturday. "We welcome him with open arms," Bowie said.
A memorial service was also held at the beach on Sunday. In a way, it was sort of a closure for us all," said Bowie.
The family of Gaunavou is expected to stay on for about a week.