Emergency services were unable to resuscitate a 51-year-old Swiss tourist who died on the beach at Ahipara, but the efforts of two passers-by before fire and ambulance crews arrived have earned high praise from Ben Lockie, territory manager Far North for St John.

Mr Lockie said he had attended the scene when Beat Wyass passed away last week, but unfortunately had not had the opportunity to thank the bystanders for their excellent efforts in trying to save his life before emergency services arrived.

"Their CPR was second to none, and their quick actions gave Beat every possible chance, but unfortunately his survival wasn't meant to be," he said.

"I offer my heartfelt thanks to those who were first at the scene. I don't know who they were, but we, the St John team, were incredibly impressed."

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Two passers-by began performing CPR until they were relieved by the emergency services, which continued their efforts to revive Mr Wyass for 30 minutes, stopping only when it became clear their efforts would not succeed.

"There are only two things that we know definitively make a difference in cardiac arrest, and those are early defibrillation and effective CPR," Mr Lockie added.

"If anybody is going to have a chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest they need these two things as soon as possible.

"I can't encourage people enough to take the opportunity to learn a skill like CPR. It buys time so that emergency services or a community defibrillator can arrive and have a greater chance of success.

- If you are in a Far North community group and would like to learn CPR, please contact Heather Moffat on (021) 143 6950.