UPDATED: A man drowned in Tauranga Harbour on Friday while trying to save his two young children.
The 53-year-old from Tauranga was with his wife and two children at Te Puna Beach when the youngsters got into trouble while collecting pipi.
The man and his wife went to their aid.
When his wife turned around she lost sight of him and an extensive search involving police, the Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter and Tauranga Coastguard was launched shortly after.
The man's body was found drifting in Tauranga Harbour about a hour and a half after the search began.
Trustpower TECT Rescue helicopter crew spotted the man drifting in Tauranga Harbour, about 1km down the channel between Motuhoa Island and Te Puna.
Pilot Liam Brettkelly said the man's body was retrieved by members of Tauranga Coastguard and taken to the Coastguard head office at Sulphur Point.
Tauranga Coastguard marine controller Garth Hewetson said it was low tide at the time of the incident.
He said the area where the family were digging for shellfish was "pretty shallow".
"It wouldn't have been more than a metre deep, it was really low tide."
Sergeant Cam Anderson of Tauranga Police said this was "another one of our tragic summer drownings".
Victim support personnel were with the man's family on Friday night.